The Chicago film community is sadden by the loss of film pioneer Jeff Marpé, executive producer, director and founder of Line 9 Productions who passed away suddenly on July 14th.
Jeff’s sudden passing came as a shock to his family, son Breydon age 23, daughter Kali age 20, and ex-wife Rose who said that Jeff had been in good health but had mild flu symptoms for a few days. Jeff was fully vaccinated and there is not an official cause of death at this time.
Jeff grew up in Waxahatchie, Texas, where as the son of a movie theater owner he began a life long passion and love for the moving image. He has been a fixture in the Chicago production community and founded Line 9 Productions, a full service production house in 1992.
Known for his imaginative, creative story telling he produced and directed hundreds of spots and was known for the short film, Hunter’s Moon, written by David Lee and directed by Jeff. Jeff was a screenwriter as well and had plans to begin directing his first feature length film Paint.
“Jeff always believed in the people of Chicago in the film industry,” said Rose. “Everyone from the grips, to PAs, to craft services, everyone on the team during production. He always wanted to work in Chicago and keep people in Chicago and help out people so everyone would stay. He hated to hear when the people that he worked with moved to LA. He always felt that we had so much potential. He was just adamant that we have the talent and a great work force and he believed in everyone he worked with, from PAs to directors to actors and actresses, casting agencies and advertising agencies. He believed we had the world’s best here.”
Above all, Jeff was known as a mentor to young filmmakers who were looking for a start in production.
Qadree Holmes, Founder/Executive Producer of Quriosity Productions, credits Jeff as the person who gave him his start in the business. As a young intern working for David O’Connor Casting, Qadree was fortunate to cross paths with Jeff one evening at a party.
“Jeff gave an opportunity to a very young naïve Q and taught me about the business,” said Qadree. “I am forever grateful for him taking the risk….and the rest was history.” Qadree continued to work with Jeff for several years as an executive producer at Line 9 and later founded Quriosity.
Qadree continued, “We all knew Jeff for his involvement in production, but the greatest joy of his life was being a father to his children.”
David O’Connor of O’Connor Casting recalls many priceless memories of Jeff. “I was fortunate enough that Jeff was one of my early clients from his FCB days. His laugh was infectious. His wit and dryness always remembered. I have a hysterical story about us in Mexico together… but I’ll keep that memory private and saved for when Jeff and I meet again on the other side. Much love.”
Film producer, Val Gobos, “Jeff will be missed. He was truly a pioneer in the production business, by creating Line 9 in the 90’s, to line producer on commercials and films in Chicago for out of state production companies, and individuals without production resources. ”
Scott Marvel of Daily Planet, “I was always impressed with Jeff’s passion for the craft and his kindness to everyone he worked with.”
Producer, Nathalynne McGinnis, “I looked at Jeff’s LI today, reflecting on how long we’ve been in the business and the numerous projects productions contracted through FCB. Jeff was the problem solver, the cost accommodater. You knew when he furrowed his brow, he was taking a hit. He loved the work and that made him a great business man. Whether it was streaky windows, creamy Mac ‘n Cheese, finger prints on furniture, and foul odors, Jeff tackled it. Until we meet again rest…in heavily peace.”
Debbie Val, line producer for Jeff for over 20 years, “I started producing for Jeff in 2001. He was such a wonderful, kind, easy going person and a great filmmaker. He was very loyal and would do anything for anyone in his circle. We were treated like family and we would do anything for him, as well. Besides being an amazing human being, he loved sailing on his sailboat and always dreamed of executing one of his movie scripts. That was his next adventure in life. He was an amazing father to his two children and I can’t imagine him not being their cheerleader anymore.”
Jeff’s children Kali and Breydon, “My dad was the one person in my life who taught me the most about being kind, creative, and mostly, having a great sense of humor. If my brother and I inherited even a fraction of his admirable traits, I think we’ll be okay. I’m taking a weird comfort in one of my dad’s favorite quotes when I would complain. He’d say that there’s ‘billions of people in the world who don’t care about my problems.’ That may be true, but everyone that knew my dad is grieving with me today. To my ‘All Knowing and Wise PaPa,’ Breyd and I will miss you every day, and hopefully make you proud. “
A memorial gathering will be held at a venue that Jeff’s family feels he would have approved of. Friends are invited to come to honor the Chicago film icon and share an evening of memories.
Saturday, July 24 from 1-5 pm
6686 N Northwest Hwy – Chicago
Rose said the family wants to do what they believe Jeff would want. “If I had a formal service Jeff would come back to haunt me. I think a nice little bar where his kids and his brothers and friends can gather and just reminisce about his life would be the perfect scenario.” Rose continued, “It’s about my kids’ grieving process as well. I want my kids to know what a great person Jeff was because a lot of people had a lot of respect for him. My kids and his brothers have to see how people cared for him.”