Sophie Turner Laing and Josh Berger, among others, share tributes to Justin Bodle, who passed away in his home in France yesterday at the age of 58.
Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Bros. Entertainment U.K., met Bodle when both were at the beginning of their media careers in the 1980s. In a 2005 interview with World Screen’s Anna Carugati, Bodle referenced Berger, alongside Jim Henson, Peter Orton, Robert Halmi and Russ Kagan, among the execs who had most influenced his career.
“Justin was a bigger-than-life character,” Berger tells World Screen. “He was also an incredibly good friend—a loyal friend and a great dad. He was a born dealmaker. He was always negotiating—and excellent at it. He was also incredibly skilled at developing opportunities that others couldn’t see and he could. He could bridge business and creative, the advertising world with the program-distribution world. He could speak the languages of all of those different constituencies. And he could turn it into win-wins for everybody involved. He was really quite a rare talent. A one-of-a-kind. We’ll all miss him terribly.”
“Justin was a larger-than-life character,” says Sophie Turner Laing, CEO of Endemol Shine Group. “Passionate, enthusiastic and energetic. We had some super fun times at Henson’s where barter became his byword. He was the ultimate salesman who never took no for an answer and the buyers were always charmed by his drive. He left us way too soon and the world will be a much, much quieter place without him. My thoughts are with his family and children.”
“He was so determined, an incredible thinker, he didn’t see obstacles, he just saw right through to the solution,” says Platform One Media’s Erik Pack, who worked with Bodle at Power.
“Justin was a highly innovative entertainment and media executive who launched his career working in the international marketplace from both an advertising and programming perspective,” says longtime friend Brian Lacey. “These early years proved to be an excellent springboard for Justin as he moved decidedly into the creative production and distribution business, highly accomplished in the competitive co-production business. Justin was passionate in all that he pursued and accomplished.”
Bodle began his media career at Thames Television selling air time to advertisers. He later joined Peter Orton at HIT Entertainment and crafted the first barter deal in Europe with The Muppets Show on Super Channel in 1987. He also became well versed in the international television distribution business, eventually setting up his own firm, Power Television, in 1995. At Power, Bodle began producing high-end drama series, with credits such as Henry VIII with Ray Winston and Archangel with Daniel Craig, and a range of TV movies.
After selling and then reacquiring Power, Bodle shifted his focus entirely to production, most recently filming a movie in China.
“What excites me is having very big ideas about very big programming and then delivering on those ideas without compromising either the financing or the creativity of those ideas,” Bodle told World Screen in a 2007 interview.
He is survived by his three children.