J.C. Spink, Producer and Master of the Script Sale, Dies at 45 (Updated)
He founded Benderspink with college buddy Chris Bender, and they were behind such films as 'The Hangover,' 'We're the Millers' and 'A History of Violence.'
J.C. Spink, the gregarious producer and Hollywood hustler behind many of the top big-screen comedies in the 2000s, has died. He was 45.
Spink died Tuesday night at his home in West Hollywood, his brother, Brian Spink, told The Hollywood Reporter. No cause of death was immediately known, and an autopsy will be performed, he said.
Spink, who hailed from Philadelphia, was one half of Benderspink, the management-production banner that he founded with Chris Bender.
Spink and Bender both graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., and were assistants at management-production outfit Zide-Perry Productions before striking out on their own in 1998, working out of a house they shared in West Hollywood.
"Chris and I were roommates," Spink once said. "We had a third bedroom, and the company just started out of there. I think it probably cost $35,000 a year or $40,000 a year to run it. We were just putting it on credit cards."
Within its first year, Benderspink had sold more than 20 scripts and helped set up American Pie (1999), which grossed $235 million worldwide. It then signed a first-look production deal with New Line Cinema.
Benderspink specialized in spec scripts, and the partners were instrumental in big sales for scripts that ended up becoming movies — ranging from Cats & Dogs (2001) and The Ring (2002) to Monster-in-Law (2005) and We’re the Millers (2013).
Over almost two decades, Spink racked up credits on such movies as the Hangover trilogy, The Butterfly Effect (2004), the Ride Along films and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013). He was nominated for a Golden Globe for producing A History of Violence (2005).
Spink ran the company with Bender for 18 years before they parted ways last May.
Spink gained a reputation as a fast-talking hustler and inside operator who also liked to live large. In a 2006 story for Esquire, the burly Spink was described as "a quick-witted, hard-boozing loose cannon reminiscent of Chris Farley who last year got into a fist fight at an industry beer-pong tournament."
His reputation led to cameos in front of the camera as well, which included playing a bus driver on two episodes of the ABC comedy The Goldbergs.
Spink is also survived by another brother, Dan; his parents Marsh and Helyn; his sisters-in-law Jessica and Holly; his niece Campbell; and his nephew Bennett.
A memorial will be held Thursday May 4th 10AM at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills (504 N Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210). The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund (http://curealz.org).
Updated May 2, 9:05 AM to include details of the memorial service.