J.C. Spink, 45, a Philadelphia native and successful Hollywood manager and producer, died Tuesday, April 18, at his home in West Hollywood, Calif.
Mr. Spink, gregarious, good-humored, and a larger-than-life “loudest man in the room,” died of what the coroner initially described as natural causes, though an autopsy is pending. Variety reported that Mr. Spink was found unresponsive in his home by a brother.
Mr. Spink attended William Penn Charter School and Bucknell University, where he met Chris Bender, with whom he would form the production company Benderspink. They were involved in such hits as The Hangover trilogy (as executive producers) and We’re the Millers, and critically acclaimed titles such as the Philadelphia-set A History of Violence.
"He was the quintessential bull in a china shop with the most gentle, loyal disposition. He just had a way with people. You knew when he came into the room. It’s a void, people like him don’t exist anymore," said a childhood friend, Justin Wineburgh, CEO and president of the entertainment and advertising firm Alkemy X, who credits Mr. Spink with getting him into the entertainment industry. "He prided himself on having the largest repository of '80s music knowledge.
Mr. Spink and Bender dissolved their partnership last year, but Mr. Spink had been busy as ever — producing the upcoming live-action version of Mulan, among other projects. He was also a successful talent manager. Clients included Hollywood screenwriters such as Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, co-writers of the summer movie Baywatch, who said on Twitter that they were “heartbroken to hear about J.C. Spink. He discovered our first script and brought us into this business. Rest in peace, old friend.”
Heartbroken to hear about JC Spink. He discovered our first script and brought us into this business. Rest in peace, old friend.
— Shannon and Swift (@shannonandswift) April 19, 2017
The writer Brian Lynch (The Secret Life of Pets) said on Twitter that Mr. Spink was “a good guy, a funny guy, the loudest guy in the room.”
The cliche of more than a manager, but a friend is a stupid hollywood cliche but it was true with them. Many fantastic memories of JC Spink
— Brian Lynch (@BrianLynch) April 19, 2017
He kept in touch with his Philadelphia roots, said Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. She recalled Mr. Spink taking the time to attend parties for the city’s annual film festival.
“He was a very fun-loving guy, and he loved Philadelphia. When he would come back, he would always want to be around his friends. He would send out these emails with a very long list of friends, and that’s when you knew J.C. was back in town. He will be missed,” Pinkenson said.
Mr. Spink attended middle school with the TV producer Adam F. Goldberg, who recalled being razzed by Mr. Spink, and used it as a basis of an episode of his hit TV show, The Goldbergs. Mr. Spink said at the time that he didn't remember the incident, but as was typical of his nature, he agreed to appear in the show — in a small part as a bus driver.
Through Benderspink, Mr. Spink helped develop Horrible Bosses, The Butterfly Effect, Vacation, Just Friends, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and Monster-in-Law. Their first production together was the 2001 comedy Cats and Dogs.
Though not a principal producer on The Hangover, Variety reported, Mr. Spink played a key role by suggesting the plot could involve a bachelor party gone wrong, as inspired by a script his brother had written. He received executive producer credits for The Hangover Part II and The Hangover Part III. Benderspink also had a hand in the development of the Ride Along movies and Mr. Spink is executive producer of the sequel.
Last year, as their partnership ended, Bender and Mr. Spink issued a statement: ‘We started Benderspink in our late 20s almost 18 years ago. We could not be more proud of what we’ve achieved together and are excited for this next chapter in each of our lives.”
Mr. Spink is survived by his parents, Marsh and Helyn, and two brothers.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete.