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Great stories, well told. They can be for audiences in darkened movie theaters or home living rooms. They can feature great movie stars or introduce new talent. They can be true adventure, broad comedy, heartbreaking tragedy, epic history, joyous romance or searing drama. They can be set in the distant or recent past, an only-imagined future or a familiar present. Whatever their elements, though, if they begin with a lightning bolt, they are stories being told by JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, and they will be great stories, well told.

The numbers—of dollars and honors—are a matter of often-reported record. Bruckheimer's films have earned worldwide revenues of over $14.5 billion in box-office, video and recording receipts. In the 2005-6 season, he has a record-breaking eight series on network television. His films—15 of which exceeded the $100 million mark in U.S. boxoffice receipts—have been acknowledged with 35 Academy Award® nominations, five Oscars®, eight Grammy Award® nominations, five Grammys®, 23 Golden Globe® nominations, four Golden Globes®, 53 Emmy® award nominations, 12 Emmys®, 16 People's Choice nominations, six People's Choice Awards, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for "Beverly Hills Cop,” and 14 Teen Choice Awards.

But the numbers exist only because of Bruckheimer's uncanny ability to find the stories and tell them on film. He is, according to the Washington Post, "the man with the golden gut.” He may have been born that way, but more likely, his natural gifts were polished to laser focus in the early years of his career. His first films were the 60-second tales he told as an awardwinning commercial producer in his native Detroit. One of those mini-films, a parody of Bonnie and Clyde created for Pontiac, was noted for its brilliance in Time magazine and brought the 23-year-old producer to the attention of world-renowned ad agency BBD&O, which lured him to New York.

Four years on Madison Avenue gave him the experience and confidence to tackle Hollywood, and, not yet 30, he was at the helm of memorable films like "Farewell, My Lovely,” "American Gigolo” and 1983's "Flashdance,” which changed Bruckheimer's life by grossing $92 million in the U.S. alone and pairing him with Don Simpson, who would be his producing partner for the next 13 years.

Together the Simpson/Bruckheimer juggernaut produced one hit after another, including "Top Gun,” "Days of Thunder,” "Beverly Hills Cop,” "Bad Boys,” "Dangerous Minds” and "Crimson Tide.” Box-office success was acknowledged in both 1985 and 1988 when the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) named Bruckheimer Producer of the Year. And in 1988, the Publicists Guild of America named him, along with Simpson, Motion Picture Showmen of the Year.

In 1996, Bruckheimer produced "The Rock,” re-establishing Sean Connery as an action star and turning an unlikely Nicolas Cage into an action hero. "The Rock,” named Favorite Movie of the Year by NATO, grossed $350 million worldwide and was Bruckheimer's last movie with Simpson, who died during production.

Now on his own, Bruckheimer followed in 1997 with "Con Air,” which grossed over $230 million, earned a Grammy® and two Oscar® nominations and brought its producer the ShoWest International Box Office Achievement Award for unmatched foreign grosses.

Then came Touchstone Pictures' megahit "Armageddon,” starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Michael Bay, it was the biggest movie of 1998, grossing nearly $560 million worldwide and introducing legendary rock band Aerosmith's first number-one single, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing.”

By the end of the millennium, Bruckheimer had produced "Enemy of the State,” starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman, and "Gone in 60 Seconds,” starring Cage, An


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