This week we lost producer-director Jeff Pollack, who died suddenly while jogging in Hermosa Beach at the age of 54. Few knew him better than longtime friend and business partner Benny Medina. The two met at a card game in the 1980s and bonded over their mutual love of film, television and music. They went to create the format for the hit 1990 NBC comedy series The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, whose central character played by Will Smith was based on Medina. Three years later, they formed management/production company Medina/Pollack Entertainment, renamed Handprint Entertainment in 1995, with Smith as their first client. Pollack and Medina collaborated on a slew of film and TV projects, including the features Above the Rim, based on a story by the duo with Pollack directing, The Fighting Temptations and The Tyra Banks Show. While Handprint closed its doors in 2008, Pollack and Medina remained close. Here is what Medina told Deadline about the passing of his friend:
It is with a heavy heart that I must bid farewell to my dear friend, Jeff Pollack. Jeff was a talented writer, director, producer and entrepreneur… but he would say his greatest accomplishment was his two children, Lael and Logan, to whom he was an amazing and devoted father.
He was my partner, but first and foremost, a great and loyal friend whom I loved dearly.
Gone too soon, I will miss him.