|Born||Donald Clarence Simpson
October 29, 1943
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Died||January 19, 1996
Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Drug-related heart failure|
|Other names||Donald C. Simpson|
|Education||West Anchorage High School|
|Alma mater||University of Oregon|
|Occupation||Film producer, screenwriter, actor|
Donald Clarence "Don" Simpson (October 29, 1943 – January 19, 1996) was an American film producer, screenwriter, and actor. Simpson, along with his producing partner Jerry Bruckheimer, produced such hit films as Flashdance (1983), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Top Gun (1986), and The Rock (1996). Their films would go on to earn $3 billion.
Simpson was born in Seattle, Washington, grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. He attended West Anchorage High School, and went on to attend the University of Oregon, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
The two would go on to produce some of the most financially successful films of the 1980s: Flashdance (1983), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Top Gun (1986) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). In 1990, Simpson and Bruckheimer signed a five-year deal with Paramount worth a reported $300 million. However, the duo's first film for Paramount, 1990's Days of Thunder, received mixed reviews and did poorly at the box office. Simpson and Bruckheimer blamed Paramount for the film's failure stating that Paramount rushed the planning and release of the film. Paramount blamed the film's failure on Simpson and Bruckheimer's overspending. The duo mutually parted with Paramount shortly thereafter.
In 1991, the two signed with Disney. Their first film for Disney, The Ref (1994), was a financial flop. Their following films, Dangerous Minds, Crimson Tide, and Bad Boys, all released in 1995, brought the pair back to success.
As Simpson and Bruckheimer's success grew, so did Simpson's reputation for being a brash "party animal". His excessive spending (in both films and his personal life) and drug use were well known by the 1990s. According to screenwriter James Toback, both David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg had attempted to get Simpson to go to rehab for his drug use.
Simpson refused to admit himself to rehab and instead employed Dr. Stephen Ammerman, a doctor from Pacific Palisades who had a history of drug abuse. Ammerman believed that in order for Simpson to quit drugs, he had to use other drugs to combat the effects of painful withdrawal symptoms. Ammerman designed a "dangerously unorthodox" detox program, which included the use of several medications (including morphine), for Simpson to do at home to kick his drug habit. On August 15, 1995, Ammerman was found dead in the pool house on Simpson's estate. It was later determined that Ammerman died of an accidental overdose of cocaine, Valium, Venlafaxine and morphine.
Frustrated with Simpson's escalating drug use and declining work, Jerry Bruckheimer terminated their partnership in December 1995. The two agreed to finish work on The Rock, which was already in production. The Rock was released after Simpson's death and is dedicated to his memory.
Simpson's personal life has been documented in a number of sources. A chapter in the book You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again (which describes four prostitutes' stories about their sexual encounters with Hollywood celebrities) discusses his preferences for S & M.
On January 19, 1996, Simpson was found dead in his bathroom of his Bel Air, Los Angeles home . His death was initially reported as "natural". An autopsy and toxicology report later determined that Simpson had died of heart failure from combined drug intoxication (cocaine and prescription medications). At the time of his death, there were 21 different drugs in his system including antidepressants, stimulants, sedatives, and tranquilizers. In August 1996, investigative reporter Chuck Philips of The Los Angeles Times revealed that Simpson had been obtaining large quantities of prescription drugs from fifteen different doctors and that police found 2,200 prescription pills in his home.
|1975||Aloha, Bobby and Rose||
|1976||Cannonball||Assistant District Attorney||Writer
Credited as Donald C. Simpson
|1984||Beverly Hills Cop||
|1984||Thief of Hearts||
|1987||Beverly Hills Cop II||
|1990||Days of Thunder||Aldo Bennedetti||Producer|
- "To make money, it may be important to win the Academy Award, for it might mean another ten million dollars at the box office."
- "There's a life outside darkness. There's a life in redemption."
- "Disney Extends Bruckheimer Deal". latimes.com. 1997-05-02. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Thomson, David (1996-04-07). "I'm Don Simpson; And You're Not". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
- Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (1996-02-22). "Don Simpson passes away". ew.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (1996-02-22). "Don Simpson passes away". ew.com. p. 2. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Citron, Alan (1991-01-18). "'Top Gun' Producers, Disney Sign Deal". latimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Philips, Chuck (1996-08-18). "Don Simpson's Death Showed Depth of Abuse". latimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Philips, Chuck; Hall, Carla (1996-02-06). "Narcotics Unit Probes Don Simpson's Death". latimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (1996-02-22). "Don Simpson passes away". ew.com. p. 3. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Turan, Kenneth (1996-08-07). "Between a 'Rock' and Loud Place". latimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Don Simpson: Hollywood Death". movieline.com. 1996-06-01. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Pace, Eric (1996-01-21). "Don Simpson Is Dead at 52; Produced Blockbuster Films". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
- Shipman, David (1996-01-23). "Obituary: Don Simpson". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Philips, Chuck; Malnic, Eric (1996-03-17). "Autopsy Finds Don Simpson Died of Overdose". latimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Fleming, Charles (1998). High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess. Doubleday. p. 9. ISBN 0-385-48694-4.
- "The Innovators 1980–1990: Jock of Gold". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-10-26.