John (Jon) Francis Connolly, co-writer of The Dream Team, Eddie, Opportunity Knocks and “script doctor” for just about every funny movie from the late 80’s to 2000, died of complications from Familial Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was 80 years old. He was still writing when he died.
His college years at Gettysburg were spent in intramural football, boxing and as a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, a fellowship that stayed with him his entire life.
John’s early career in advertising pegged “Breeze” as a wunderkind, amassing Clios and Andys and Addys and most every other prestigious advertising award in the 1960s and early 70s. The Rainbow Division of the National Guard in New York City interrupted his weekends. Later through a chance meeting, John and his art director partner, Murray Smith, opened a movie advertising shop that grew into a powerhouse when they linked up with Jeff Kanew of Utopia Productions. Together they created the print and trailer advertising during the golden age of movies – Star Wars, Rocky, Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver.
Once dubbed “word for word the highest paid man in America”, John loaned the “H” in his name to Hollywood and started writing movies as Jon Connolly. He had the attention and the respect of every studio’s ad/pub department so his scripts got read. He partnered with David Loucka and the two wrote and co-produced The Dream Team in 1989. They then wrote movies for Dana Carvey, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller and George Carlin among others.
Jon had a passion for mentoring, especially young writers. He never thought twice about leaning on his contacts to make sure a script got read or a position got filled. There are many high-powered people still working in Hollywood today that owe their careers to him.
But Jon always said his finest creation was his daughter, Kristen. He would burst with pride when ever discussing her. They were confidantes sharing unconditional love.
John was born January 24, 1941 in Port Chester, New York. His father, John T. Connolly, was the Chief Deputy of the Southern District of New York. His mother, Mary, was active in numerous volunteer groups and charities. John’s brother, Kevin, also fell victim to Familial Pulmonary Fibrosis and died in November of 2019.
Jon is survived by his wife, Deborah Armstrong Connolly, his daughter, Kristen Connolly Vadas, two grandchildren, Lucian and Astrid, his sisters Carroll Pugmire and Mara Connolly Taft and countless nieces, nephews, friends, and colleagues who all claim that Jon was the “best friend they ever had.”
Funeral Service will be held 10AM on Monday April 26, 2021 at Stanwich Congregational Church 202 Taconic Road Greenwich CT Interment will be private. There will be no visitation.
In lieu of flowers, the family has chosen the Nicholl Fellowship endowing young writers to launch their careers. Please send a check made out to The Academy Foundation. In the memo part of the check please write “In Memory of Jon Connolly”. Send the check to:
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
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