Legendary documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown passed away in his sleep on December 10, 2017, according to his family. He turned 80 years old on December 1. A statement on his website BruceBrownFilms.com said, “Today our friend, partner, mentor, filmmaker and father peacefully passed away in Santa Barbara, with Bruce and his inspiring movies an era comes to an end.”
Brown is well known for his iconic surf documentaries, most notably the 1966 film The Endless Summer, that followed two surfers chasing summer and sweet waves around the globe. Bruce’s son Dana Brown followed in his filmmaking footsteps, with a series of his own popular surf documentaries. Fittingly the Browns also spent time documenting and making films about off-road motorsports. This year Dana premiered his second Dust 2 Glory film about the Baja 1000, the first came out in 2005.
Bruce created, directed, and produced the documentary film On Any Sunday, which he personally secured funding for from the one and only Steve McQueen, who loved Bruce’s idea to create a film showcasing motorcycle culture in a positive light. During the film Bruce utilized cameras mounted on riders’ helmets, likely one of the first professional filmmakers to do so.
Bruce Brown was an innovator, a creator who pushed the boundaries of conventional film and created truly unique stories based around adventure, excitement, and a love for the outdoors. He’ll always live on through his movies, and as his son Dana carries on the tradition of creating epic visual stories, he surely won’t be forgotten any time soon.