Last Respects to David Brown in Manhattan

Funeral for legendary producer draws Steven Spielberg, Anderson Cooper, Michael Bloomberg

Steven Spielberg, Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg were among those in attendance on Thursday at Hollywood legend David Brown's public funeral, held on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Brown, who produced a string of Hollywood hits including Spielberg's "Jaws," died at 93 on Monday after a long illness.

About 200 people packed into the standing-room-only service.

Helen Gurley Brown, his wife of more than 50 years and editor of Cosmopolitan, sat in the front row but didn't speak.

But Richard Zanuck, a longtime friend with whom Brown formed the independent Zanuck-Brown production company in 1972, did.

"Last night on the plane I was flooded with 50 years of memories," Zanuck said during a long, heartfelt speech during which he broke down frequently. "It was like 'War & Peace' … Too big to consume."

"He was my closest friend, my anchor," Zanuck continued. "He even got me out of jail one time. He was always there for me."

"He was funnier than any comedian," he said. "He would've been great filling in for Jay Leno.

Zanuck and Brown produced numerous successful films, including 1974 Best Picture winner "The Sting," starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. They also hired Spielberg to direct his first feature, "The Sugarland Express," and later tapped him for the blockbuster "Jaws."

Of their partnership, Zanuck said: "I was a Hollywood brat, David was this dapper, charming guy. It was an odd combination, but it worked."

Zanuck said he last spoke with Brown on Friday. "He didn't murmur a word," Zanuck said. "I was about to hang up when I heard an loud voice on the other end of the phone say 'See ya.' I knew that that was it."

Brown "accomplished more in his last two decades of life than most people accomplish in a lifetime," said Frank A. Bennack, chairman of the Hearst Corporation and a longtime friend of the Browns.

Kit Goldman, Brown's assistant, said: "Even at 93 it was too soon for him to go."

(Photos by Dylan Stableford)