Bruce Cohen │ Murray/Reese Family Award 2023

Bruce Cohen receives Family Equality’s Murray/Reese Family Award.

At Family Equality’s 2023 LA Impact gala, we honored film producer Bruce Cohen with the Murray/Reese Family Award. Bruce is the producer behind iconic films like “American Beauty,” “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” and “Rustin,” placing him at the center of an impressive community of artists and activists. After fighting for years to tell LGBTQ+ stories in Hollywood, and now serving as co-chair for President Biden’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (sharing duties with Lady Gaga), Bruce’s lifelong devotion to human rights made him the perfect choice for the Murray/Reese Family Award.

Speaking it into existence

Since he was 8 years old, Bruce was determined to win an Oscar. In fact, he was so determined that practically “everyone [he] had ever known” reminded him of this dream when “American Beauty” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000. A lifetime of dedication led to this monumental win for Bruce, and that resilience extends to other parts of his life, too. Bruce believes a healthy dose of manifestation led him to his partner, Gabe, and their daughter, Ilaria — who he affectionately refers to as his “dream life partner and dream kid.”

Activism and advocacy

Bruce most recently produced “Rustin” — a film that details the critical role Bayard Rustin played during the civil rights movement and the 1963 March on Washington. As the son of activists, Bruce has always been oriented toward justice, often using storytelling to uplift historically marginalized figures. He also demonstrates this through his ongoing work with Family Equality, having served as producer for our annual New York City gala, Night at the Pier, since 2015. “I think there’s nothing more important than the work that Family Equality is doing,” said Bruce.

Looking beyond his numerous accolades and awards, three simple titles make up the fabric of his identity: father, filmmaker, and activist. No matter where he goes or what he’s doing, family, creativity, and advocacy are what drive him. “I feel so fortunate and so blessed that I have these three things that define me.” Congratulations, Bruce!

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