Bruce Geller: The Creator of Mission Impossible

by Sherif M. Awad

Bruce Geller: The Creator of Mission Impossible
Table of Contents

Introduction

If you’re a fan of spy thrillers, you’ve probably heard of Mission Impossible, the iconic TV series and movie franchise that features daring agents, impossible missions, and catchy music. But do you know who created this masterpiece of entertainment? His name was Bruce Geller, and he was a talented writer, producer, director, and lyricist who left a lasting mark on the TV and film industry. In this blog post, we’ll explore the life and work of Bruce Geller, the creator of Mission Impossible. We’ll learn about his background, his career, his death, his awards, and his musicals. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about him. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better appreciation of Bruce Geller and his amazing legacy.

Who Was Bruce Geller and What Did He Do?

Bruce Geller was born on October 13, 1930 in New York City. He was the son of Dorothy Friedlander and Abraham N. Geller, a general sessions judge. He graduated from Yale University in 1952 with a degree in psychology and sociology. He was also involved in many activities at Yale, including theater.

After graduating from Yale, he pursued a career as a writer and lyricist for various TV shows and musicals. He wrote scripts for shows on the DuMont Television Network, such as Jimmy Hughes, Rookie Cop (1953) and others. He also wrote the book and lyrics for musical theater productions such as Livin’ the Life (1957) and All in Love (1961), but his efforts met with only modest success.

He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, where he found more opportunities as a TV writer. He wrote episodes for several popular TV series, such as Zane Grey Theater, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rebel, The Rifleman, and The Westerner. He also worked as the co-executive producer of the Rawhide series for the 1964-1965 season.

While producing Rawhide, he came up with the idea for a new “cloak-and-dagger” series that would become his most famous work: Mission Impossible. He created, wrote, produced, and directed the show that ran on CBS from 1966 to 1973. The show featured a team of secret agents who carried out complex and dangerous missions using elaborate plans, disguises, gadgets, and teamwork. The show was a huge hit with audiences and critics alike. It won several awards, including two Emmy Awards for Geller as producer and writer in 1966. It also spawned several spin-offs, sequels, and adaptations over the years.

Besides Mission Impossible, Geller also created another successful TV series: Mannix. Mannix was a detective show that starred Mike Connors as Joe Mannix, a private investigator who solved cases using his fists and his wits. The show ran on CBS from 1967 to 1975 and was also produced by Geller.

Geller also ventured into film production and direction. He produced and directed movies such as Harry in Your Pocket (1973), a comedy-drama about pickpockets; Corky (1972), a drama about a race car driver; and The Savage Bees (1976), a horror movie about killer bees. He also wrote or co-wrote some of the music for these movies, as well as for Mission Impossible and Mannix.

How Did Bruce Geller Die?

Bruce Geller’s life and career were cut short by a tragic accident. On May 21, 1978, he was flying a twin-engine Cessna 337 from Los Angeles to Monterey, California. He was accompanied by his friend and colleague Henry Rosenbaum, a TV producer and writer. The weather was foggy and rainy, and the plane crashed into a hillside near Santa Barbara, killing both men instantly. They were 47 years old.

Bruce Geller’s death shocked and saddened his family, friends, colleagues, and fans. He left behind his wife Jeannette Marx, whom he married in 1953, and his two children, David and Jennifer. His wife and children inherited his estate and continued to honor his memory and legacy. His funeral was attended by many celebrities and dignitaries, including Tom Selleck, Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Leonard Nimoy, Mike Connors, and Robert Wagner.

Bruce Geller’s death also had a profound impact on his work. His last TV project, Hunter, a pilot for a new detective series starring James Franciscus, was aired posthumously in 1973 but was not picked up by any network. His last movie project, The Supercops, a comedy-drama about two New York cops based on a true story, was released posthumously in 1975 but was not very successful. His most famous creation, Mission Impossible, was revived in 1988 as a new TV series that ran for two seasons on ABC. It was also adapted into a blockbuster movie franchise starring Tom Cruise that began in 1996 and is still ongoing.

Bruce Geller’s death also had a touch of irony and tragedy. He died in a plane crash while working on a TV show called Hunter, which featured a character who survived a plane crash. He also died while creating stories about impossible missions that always ended with success and survival. He never got to see the full extent of his influence and popularity on the TV and film industry and culture.

Bruce Geller’s Net Worth and Awards

Bruce Geller was a successful and wealthy TV and film producer, writer, director, and lyricist. He earned a lot of money from his work, especially from Mission Impossible and Mannix. His net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be around $10 million, which is equivalent to about $40 million today. He left his estate to his wife and children, who also received royalties from his work.

Bruce Geller also received many awards and nominations for his work, mostly for Mission Impossible. He won two Emmy Awards in 1966, one for Outstanding Drama Series and one for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama. He also won a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best TV Show. He was nominated for three more Emmy Awards and two more Golden Globe Awards in the following years. He also won a Writers Guild Award in 1967 for Best Written Drama Series and a Grammy Award in 1968 for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show.

Bruce Geller’s achievements and contributions to the TV and film industry and culture were remarkable and impressive. He created some of the most memorable and influential TV shows and movies of all time. He introduced new concepts and techniques that changed the way stories were told and presented on screen. He inspired generations of viewers, fans, writers, producers, directors, and actors with his vision and creativity.

Bruce Geller’s Musicals and Songs

Bruce Geller was not only a TV and film producer, writer, and director, but also a musical theater and song writer and lyricist. He had a passion and talent for music and musicals that he expressed in his work. He wrote or co-wrote several musicals and songs in his career, both for the stage and for the screen.

Some of his musicals were Livin’ the Life (1957) and All in Love (1961), which he wrote with composer Gene de Paul. Livin’ the Life was a musical comedy about a young man who inherits a fortune and decides to live the high life in New York. All in Love was a musical adaptation of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s play The Rivals, set in 18th century England. Both musicals were off-Broadway productions that received mixed reviews and moderate success.

Some of his songs were I Found Him, What Can It Be?, The Impossible Dream, and The Ballad of Cat Ballou. I Found Him and What Can It Be? were songs from his musicals Livin’ the Life and All in Love, respectively. The Impossible Dream was a song from the musical Man of La Mancha (1965), which he co-wrote with Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. It was a popular song that became an anthem for dreamers and idealists. The Ballad of Cat Ballou was a song from the movie Cat Ballou (1965), which he co-wrote with Frank De Vol. It was a humorous song that narrated the story of the titular character, a female outlaw.

Bruce Geller’s musicals and songs reflected his personality and vision. They were witty, clever, catchy, and entertaining. They also explored themes such as love, adventure, humor, and courage. They showed his versatility and creativity as a writer and lyricist.

Conclusion

Bruce Geller was the creator of Mission Impossible and a talented TV and film producer, writer, director, and lyricist. He had a remarkable and impressive career that spanned several genres and mediums. He created some of the most memorable and influential TV shows and movies of all time. He also wrote or co-wrote several musicals and songs that were witty, clever, catchy, and entertaining. He won many awards and nominations for his work and left a lasting mark on the TV and film industry and culture.

Bruce Geller’s life and career were cut short by a tragic plane crash in 1978. He died at the age of 47, leaving behind his wife and children and a legacy of amazing work. He never got to see the full extent of his influence and popularity on the TV and film industry and culture. He also died while creating stories about impossible missions that always ended with success and survival.

Bruce Geller was a visionary and a genius who inspired generations of viewers, fans, writers, producers, directors, and actors with his work. He was a master of storytelling who introduced new concepts and techniques that changed the way stories were told and presented on screen. He was a dreamer and an idealist who explored themes such as love, adventure, humor, and courage in his work. He was a legend who deserves to be remembered and celebrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’ll answer some of the most interesting and relevant questions about Bruce Geller and his work. If you have any other questions that we didn’t cover, feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

  • Q: What was Bruce Geller’s role in Mission Impossible?
  • A: Bruce Geller was not only the creator but also the writer, producer, and director of Mission Impossible. He was involved in every aspect of the show’s development, production, and direction. He also wrote or co-wrote some of the iconic music themes for the show.
  • Q: How did Bruce Geller’s family react to his death?
  • A: Bruce Geller’s family was devastated by his sudden death. He left behind his wife Jeannette Marx, whom he married in 1953, and his two children, David and Jennifer. His wife and children inherited his estate and continued to honor his memory and legacy. His funeral was attended by many celebrities and dignitaries, including Tom Selleck, Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Leonard Nimoy, Mike Connors, and Robert Wagner.
  • Q: What were some of the awards that Bruce Geller won for his work?
  • A: Bruce Geller won several awards and nominations for his work, especially for Mission Impossible. He won two Emmy Awards in 1966, one for Outstanding Drama Series and one for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama. He also won a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best TV Show. He was nominated for three more Emmy Awards and two more Golden Globe Awards in the following years. He also won a Writers Guild Award in 1967 for Best Written Drama Series and a Grammy Award in 1968 for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show.
  • Q: What were some of the musicals and songs that Bruce Geller wrote or co-wrote?
  • A: Bruce Geller wrote or co-wrote several musicals and songs in his career, both for the stage and for the screen. Some of his musicals were Livin’ the Life (1957) and All in Love (1961), which he wrote with composer Gene de Paul. Some of his songs were I Found Him, What Can It Be?, The Impossible Dream, and The Ballad of Cat Ballou.
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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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