Bobby Zarem died at age 84, leaving behind a legacy of being a “superflack” and a “hard-ass ex-communications director” for three very influential people.
Zarem wrote the book “Superflack” about Johnny Carson. To say the book was well received would be an understatement. The title was the first in a series of Jimmy Pumpkins titles about hard-ass ex-communications directors.
The book was the inspiration for “Iron John” starring Harvey Keitel and Samuel L. Jackson, and “Cherrybomb” with Chris Tucker. Zarem invented a genre of book. It is, to put it simply, hilarious.
James Lipton, the host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” and the executive producer of “Cherrybomb,” said, “I’ve worked for a million people and have known some truly nice people, but I’ve never been as flattered and honored as when Bobby was asked me to co-produce the film ‘Cherrybomb.’ How many people can claim that their first co-producer of a film was an ex-communications director?”
Elle Magazine’s official bio of Zarem said, “In 1992, Zarem turned his super-positive, truly groundbreaking ‘Superflack’ into a film in which he starred with Harvey Keitel, Samuel L. Jackson, and Penelope Ann Miller. While he may have been known for his fearless candor and outrageous sense of humor, Bobby never backed away from a real challenge or a straightforward encounter. The usually quiet and ever-so-slightly withdrawn Zarem took on writing, producing, and directing a feature-length film ‘The Iron John Project’ about a rough-and-tumble assistant communications director who finds success in the high-profile world of sports.”
Zarem was also the producer of the movie “SuperFlack,” with Courteney Cox and Adam Baldwin. That film featured the famous at-the-beach scene from the song, “Cherrybomb.”
When Zach Braff, with whom Zarem filmed “Superflack,” was asked about his directorial debut, he said, “I came in prepared to defend those [Zarem’s] words against the professionals and the heavies in the business, and at the last minute, knowing what worked and what didn’t, we shot a few extras saying something in his defense. This guy had about a million opinions about women, about his clients, about everything and everyone, and everyone loved him for it.”
Brent D. Patterson, Zarem’s publicist from 1980 until 2003, said, “Bobby was a funny, energetic, intelligent guy who thought, written, and created from the time he was a kid in Chicago, where he was born. But despite how well known he was, he never got the glory or respect he deserved.”
But that will never be true now, because everyone who knows Bobby Zarem will know that he did not only work well with his clients, but he also was good to his friends.
Zarem is survived by his wife, Bev, and sons Stephen and Brian.
Watch Bob Garrison and his guests discuss this story:
And keep an eye out on tonight’s “COURTING THE CLOCK,” episode 13, which will feature a look at Bobby Zarem from our past.