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Andy Gruenberg, a film distribution executive who worked on films such as Ghostbusters and Karate Kid, died suddenly on Friday at the age of 68, his family confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death is not immediately known.
Gruenberg had a long career working at various studios and most recently was overseeing theatrical distribution for Netflix.
Born March 10, 1950, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gruenberg spent his childhood years in movie theaters in Milwaukee. He started his career in distribution at Warner Bros., where he worked for many years, and then joined Columbia Pictures as senior vp and assistant sales manager, working on a wide variety of films including Ghostbusters, Karate Kid and Silverado.
Gruenberg then moved to MGM as executive vp distribution from 1991 to 1998. During that time, he managed the releases of Get Shorty, Tomorrow Never Dies, Leaving Las Vegas and Birdcage.
In 1998, Gruenberg became president of distribution at Miramax, where he oversaw the distribution of the Oscar-winning box-office hits Shakespeare in Love and Life Is Beautiful.
Gruenberg then joined First Look Studios as executive vp distribution in 2005. While there, he released The Proposition and Paris, Je t’aime.
Gruenberg also worked for Millennium Entertainment, where he successfully executed the release of Richard Linklater’s indie sensation Bernie in 2011 and as well as Fading Gigolo, which starred Woody Allen, in 2013.
In 2011, Gruenberg was one of the founders of the distribution company Film Arcade, along with his longtime friend, Ted Mundorff, president and CEO of Landmark Theatres. “I loved working with Andy and enjoyed our friendship over many years,” said Mundorff. “Andy was one of the smartest and most loyal guys in the business.”
During his career, he also co-founded his own company, MAC Releasing, and consulted for many distributors over the years including Broad Green Pictures, Gravitas and Think Film.
”Andy’s whole family was in the business. He learned from his father and along with his brothers, they all contributed greatly to our industry. This is a huge shock and loss to everyone who knew him,” said distribution executive Larry Gleason.
On Sunday, Netflix film chief Scott Stuber remembered Gruenberg, saying, “Andy loved this industry and was a trusted and valued advisor to so many. Talk to any exhibitor and they’ll all tell you how much they love him. He created deep relationships with everyone he worked with, including our Netflix family who are filled with grief today. He will be sorely missed.”
Gruenberg is survived by his wife, Linda; three brothers; and his sons, Billy, Jacob and Max.
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