The son of German Jewish+ immigrants, Bruckheimer was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Mumford High School+ in Detroit until moving to Arizona for college at age 17. Bruckheimer was also an active member of the Stamp Collecting Club. He graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Arizona+ with an algebra minor. He was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau+ fraternity. A film buff at an early age with an interest in photography, Bruckheimer would take snapshots when he had the opportunity. After college Bruckheimer worked in advertising in Detroit and New York City, producing award-winning commercials.
During the 1980s and 1990s, he was a co-producer with Don Simpson+ of a string of highly successful Hollywood+ films for Paramount Pictures+. He originally met Don at a screening of 1973's ''The Harder They Come+'' at Warner Brothers. The two worked together and created Bruckheimer's first big hit, 1983's ''Flashdance+'', which brought in US$95 million, an incredible sum for an R-rated film. He had a number of other hits including the ''Beverly Hills Cop+'' films, ''Top Gun+'' and ''Days of Thunder+''. ''Top Gun'' would mark the first collaboration with English director Tony Scott+, who would direct six films for Bruckheimer.
While working with Simpson, Bruckheimer became known as "Mr. Outside" because of his experience with film making, while Simpson became known as "Mr. Inside" because of his film industry contacts. ''The Rock+'' was the last film in which Bruckheimer collaborated with Simpson, due to Simpson's untimely death. Bruckheimer stipulated that ''The Rock'' be dedicated to the memory of Simpson (this fact is mentioned at the end of the film).
Early in his career, Bruckheimer produced television commercials, including one for Pepsi+. Since 1997 he has branched out into television, creating a number of police dramas of which ''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation+'' has been the most successful. He has also produced the reality game show ''The Amazing Race+''. In May 2008 CBS announced it had picked up Bruckheimer's newest series, ''Eleventh Hour+'', for the 2008–2009 broadcast television season. The science fiction drama follows a government agent and a professor as they investigate strange scientific and medical activity.
One of the most successful producers of all time, Bruckheimer has been nicknamed "Mr. Blockbuster", due to his track record of commercially successful, high-grossing films. Overall, his films have brought in over $13 billion to Hollywood, and have launched the careers of numerous actors and directors.
For 19 years, the 1984 film ''Beverly Hills Cop+'' (estimated earnings $234 million) stood as Bruckheimer's highest-grossing film until August 12, 2003, when it was pushed to the number two spot by ''Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl'', then to the number three spot by ''Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'', and then to the number four spot by ''Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End''.
The editors of ''Entertainment Weekly+'' named Bruckheimer the No. 1 most-powerful person in Hollywood+ in 2003. He was ranked No. 10 on ''Premiere'''s+ 2006 "Power 50" list, and had also ranked No. 10 on the 2005 list. He ranked No. 19 on ''Premiere'''s 2003 annual Hollywood Power List, and had ranked No. 22 in 2002. His projects have been honored with 41 Academy Award+ nominations (six wins), eight Grammy Award+ nominations (five wins), 23 Golden Globe+ nominations (four wins), 77 Emmy Award+ nominations (nine wins), eight People's Choice+ nominations (four wins), and numerous MTV Awards+, including one for Best Picture of the Decade.
When asked about his favorite films, he named 1972's ''The Godfather+'', 1971's ''The French Connection+'', 1997's ''Good Will Hunting+'', and 1959's ''The 400 Blows+''.
When asked on what the film industry's obligation to an audience was, Bruckheimer responded, "We are in the transportation business. We transport audiences from one place to another." When asked why he makes films, he stated, "If I made films for the critics, or for someone else, I'd probably be living in some small Hollywood studio apartment."
Bruckheimer has been married twice. His first wife was Bonnie Bruckheimer. He currently lives in Los Angeles, with his second wife, novelist Linda Sue (Cobb) Balahoutis Bruckheimer. He also has one stepdaughter, Alexandra. The couple also owns a farm in Bloomfield, Kentucky+, about southeast of Louisville+, as well as another in Ojai+, south of Santa Barbara+. As a teenager, Linda moved from Kentucky to Los Angeles, where she has been a writer, producer and West Coast editor for Mirabella+, and where she married Jerry Bruckheimer. She regularly spends time as a preservation+ activist, restoring and preserving historic buildings in small rural U.S. towns.
Bruckheimer's philanthropic activities have included publicly supporting the fight against multiple sclerosis+ via his work with The Nancy Davis Foundation for MS. He has additionally pledged to help various causes by establishing the Jerry Bruckheimer Foundation. However, according to The Smoking Gun+, the last time the Jerry Bruckheimer Foundation made a contribution was in 1995, when it gave $9,350 to Van Nuys prep school.
Bruckheimer has aided in the repair and restoration of the historic clipper+ ship ''Cutty Sark+''. A collection of photos taken by Bruckheimer went on display in London in November 2007 to help raise money for the Cutty Sark Conservation Project. The exhibition featured more than thirty pictures taken on set during the filming of ''Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End+''.
Bruckheimer donated funds to John McCain's 2008 presidential election campaign. In 2007 it was reported that he donated 29% of his $20,700 in political contributions to Republican candidates, but mainly leans Democratic otherwise.. He gave $5,000 to a joint fundraising committee on John McCain+'s behalf. Bruckheimer has donated more than $50,000 to Republican+ campaigns and committees. Bruckheimer donated $25,000 to the 2012 Mitt Romney Victory Fund.
Bruckheimer has been named as one of the investors of a new sports arena+ in Las Vegas+ and has been rumored to be the leading choice by the National Hockey League+ to own an expansion hockey team that would play in the proposed arena.
In December 2007 Bruckheimer announced plans to partner with MTV to create a new game studio.
In 2009 Bruckheimer unveiled Jerry Bruckheimer Games headed by Former Microsoft Game Studios Publishing Executive Producer Jim Veevaert as president of production and Jay Cohen, previously Ubisoft's vice president of U.S. publishing, as president of development.
In 2011 it was rumored that Jerry Bruckheimer Games was working on 3 titles, nothing came out of it ever since.
In March 2013 Jerry Bruckheimer Games was closed.
While Jerry Bruckheimer Games was closed Bruckheimer still remains a ZeniMax board member to this day, mostly due to being a close Associate of ZeniMax President Ernest Del+.
* ''The Legacy'' was shot for UPN+'s 2002–2003 season, written by Simon Kinberg+ and directed by Jim Gillespie. The Legacy is a science fiction drama that tells the story of a young assistant District Attorney Sam (Matthew Marsden+) who inherits superpowers and must juggle the responsibility with his existing job and girlfriend Jess.
* An HBO+ television series inspired by ''Cocaine Cowboys+'' is in the works, with Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay+, Alfred Spellman and Billy Corben serving as executive producers. It will chronicle the early days of cocaine trafficking in Miami, and is being produced by HBO sister company Warner Bros. Television+, where Jerry Bruckheimer TV is based.