Emmy-nominated reality producer Bruce Toms passed away on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) of natural causes in Pasadena, CA. He was 55.
Toms’ most recent project was Timber Creek Lodge, recently debuting for Bravo on Dec. 5. He had previously served as an executive producer on a number of unscripted programs, including Celebrity Wife Swap, Nanny 911, and Secret Millionaire. He was nominated for an Emmy in 2001 for his work as a producer on MTV’s acclaimed reality series Road Rules, alongside executive producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, and director Rick Telles.
“Bruce was a creative force of nature. He always brought a fresh perspective to a series, for our series Road Rules it resulted in the series getting its only Emmy nomination. But most important he was a wonderful mentor to the younger staff. All of us at [Bunim/Murray Productions] will miss him terribly. ,” said Murray, founder and executive consultant at Bunim/Murray Productions, to realscreen in an e-mail.
“Bruce Toms was an outstanding man and a prolific producer who influenced so many people’s lives both in front of and behind the camera, along with the millions of people who were able to enjoy his work,” said Matt Reichman, Vice President, Current Production, Bravo Media. “He will be missed dearly for his amazing spirit and utmost professionalism.”
Toms was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. In 1985 he joined Young Artists United, a non-profit group that touched on drug abuse, LGBT rights, among other issues. Toms left the group in 1987 to join Douglas Ross‘ Evolution Media where they produced Change the World, an anti-nuclear weapon documentary shot in the Soviet Union.
“We were inspired by the surge of artistic freedom that was brewing in the late 80s, and motivated by our passion to use the medium of television to foster positive social change,” said Douglas Ross, President, Evolution Media, to realscreen in an e-mail. “Although the economic realities of the business tempered our dreams, we believed that doing good would mean doing well. Bruce carried forth these basic tenets as he continued in his career. His passion for doing a good job and being a fair and enthusiastic leader served him well over the many successful shows he produced.”
After leaving Evolution in 1996, Toms became an independent producer, working for a number of networks, including Fox, ABC, MTV and Bravo.
Toms is survived by his mother Carol, siblings Blake & Lisa, Brian & Cindy, and Julie & Mark, and his dog Sophie.
A memorial service was held on Dec. 31 at Bethel-Trinity Lutheran Church in Bovey, Minnesota, and a life service is to be held in Los Angeles at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to be made to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Star of the North Humane Society or Alliance for Housing and Healing.