Emmy-nominated reality television producer Bruce Toms passed away on December 25 in Pasadena, CA. He was 55. The exact cause of death is not being disclosed beyond the fact that he died of natural causes.
At the time of his death, Toms was working as executive producer of Bravo’s reality series Timber Creek Lodge. He previously served as an executive producer on such series as Celebrity Wife Swap, Secret Millionaire, Wife Swap, The Judds, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Nanny 911, Paradise Hotel and Workout. In 2001, he shared a non-fiction program Emmy nomination for the popular MTV series Road Rules with Mary-Ellis Bunim, Jonathan Murray and Rick Telles.
“Bruce produced lots of series for Bunim-Murray Productions including MTV’s (Emmy-nominated) Road Rules and Fox’s Love Cruise. His talent was enormous. But what made him truly special, was his kind and loving soul,” said Bunim/Murray Prods. founder Murray.
Born in Grand Rapids, MN, Toms attended the University of Minnesota Duluth before moving to New York to pursue his love of acting. He starred in the national touring company production of Torch Song Trilogy, and was featured in several sitcoms and TV movies.
In 1985, Toms joined entertainment industry non-profit Young Artists United where he honed his social and political activism that would shape his creative vision and guide the rest of his career.
“From the moment Bruce arrived in our lives, he infused Young Artists United Board board meetings with wisdom, passion and integrity,” said producer Daniel Sladek, co-founder of YAU. “We were all in our early twenties and just beginning our careers, and his ability to transform ideas into action was matched by his electrifying charm. He definitely enhanced the lives of those who knew him and will be deeply missed.”
In 1987, Toms launched his producing and directing career when he joined fellow YAU board member Douglas Ross’s reality production company, Evolution Media, and the two produced the anti-nuke documentary, Change The World, shot on location in the Soviet Union.
“Bruce Toms was a visionary whose creativity was only matched by his compassion and activism to make the world a better place,” Ross said.
Toms left Evolution in 1996 to pursue a career as an independent director and producer. He was represented by Mark Itkin and Justin Ongert at WME.
“Bruce was my friend and client for close to twenty years,” said former WME Partner Mark Itkin. He was a lovely, kind and loyal gentleman with a great sense of humor. As a producer he was an excellent storyteller and respected leader. He left us way too soon.”
Bruce is survived by his mother Carol (Randall) Toms, siblings Blake and Lisa (Keranen) Toms, Brian and Cindy (Bullert) Toms, and Julie and Mark Vaughn, as well as his beloved dog Sophie.
Memorial services are planned for Saturday, December 31st at 11:00 at Bethel-Trinity Lutheran Church in Bovey MN with a luncheon following the service. An additional Life Celebration will be held in the Los Angeles area at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for contributions to be made to: Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Star of the North Humane Society or Alliance for Housing and Healing.