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“In order to honor J.C., we should we make sure that we turn our phones on,” said Chris Bender to attendees that were packed in All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills for the memorial service for J.C. Spink, where the laughter far outweighed the tears.
Bender, Spink’s business partner of two decades, was one of multiple speakers that offered up their memories of the larger-than-life personality, focusing on his questionable fashion choices (track pants and polo shirts) and distinct tastes in music (a lot of Duran Duran).
As guests walked into the church, they were treated with a sampling of Spink’s 1980s-leaning musical selections, including B-52s and U2. The memorial brought out Neal Moritz, Donna Langley and Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich, as well as Sue Kroll and new Netflix film chief Scott Stuber.
Bender, who co-founded the management-production Benderspink, remembered first meeting Spink in the mid-1990s at management-production outfit Zide-Perry Productions, during which time he was an assistant peddling VHS tapes of a short film he made in his native Philadelphia. “When the credits rolled, I laughed, because not only was J.C. a producer [on it], but he also gave himself co-producer credit,” recalled Bender.
Together, the duo spent 18 years together selling scripts and producing projects for all of the major studios. They had a hand in American Pie, the Hangover movies, We’re the Millers and The Ring. After 18 years of business, they parted ways last May. Bender offered: “As complicated as things got for us, in the end I loved J.C. and I always will.”
Spink, perpetually late and often underdressed, gained a reputation around Hollywood as a fun-loving, fast-talker that naturally gravitated towards the center of everyone’s attention. The speakers shared their own Spink stories of practical jokes and mishaps and sweaty lunch meetings.
There was the time Spink effectively kidnapped DMG president Chris Fenton and took him to a Duran Duran concert on a Wednesday night, where they sat in the front row in their pajamas, much to the chagrin of Simon Le Bon. Or the time Lego Movie producer Roy Lee, then a no-name assistant, was convinced by Spink to sneak into the CAA Christmas party.
“J.C. probably pissed off a fair amount of you,” said his brother Brian, which was followed by knowing laughter from attendees. “But he was probably very good at diffusing the situation shortly thereafter.”
Spink’s other brother Dan took note of the gathered crowd, which included Greg Silverman, Legendary founder Tucker Tooley and John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk, and said: “J.C. would be in awe of the turnout and would be sure it was mentioned on the front page of all the trades.”
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