John J. B. Wilson

For other uses, see John Wilson.
John J. B. Wilson

Born (1954-05-24) May 24, 1954
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Residence Cerritos, California
Nationality American
Other names John J.B. Wilson, John Wilson, Ye Olde Head Raspberry[1]
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Copywriter, publicist
Known for Founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards
Home town Santa Monica, California
Spouse(s) Barbara Wilson
Children 1

John J. B. Wilson (born May 24, 1954) is an American copywriter and publicist. He was born in Chicago, and moved with his parents to Santa Monica, California at an early age. He majored in film and television at University of California, Los Angeles, and after graduation worked on film marketing campaigns.

Wilson is the Co-founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards (also known as the Razzies) along with Mo Murphy, an annual ceremony dedicated to "honoring" the worst in film. In 1981 while hosting a potluck dinner at his house on the night of the Academy Awards, Wilson invited his friends to give impromptu award presentations in his living room. The following year Los Angeles Daily News covered the event, the 1st Golden Raspberry Awards, and from behind a cardboard podium Wilson announced Can't Stop the Music as the first Razzie Award for Worst Picture. Attendance doubled at Razzie award ceremonies in the following years, and by the 4th Golden Raspberry Awards the event received coverage from CNN and two major news wires. Wilson has retained an active role in the awards, and is referred to as the "Head Razzberry". His book The Official Razzie Movie Guide was published in 2005 for the 25th anniversary of the Razzie Awards.

Early life and family

Wilson grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and moved with his parents to Santa Monica, California at age 9.[2] At a young age he would skip school in order to watch the Academy Awards from the bleachers.[2] He attended University of California, Los Angeles, majoring in film and television.[2] While attending college, he also managed the Fox Theater, Westwood Village.[2] After graduating UCLA, Wilson obtained a position working on marketing campaigns for movies and as a copywriter for a sponsor of the Los Angeles Film Festival, and watched over 200 movies per year in this capacity.[2][3] As of 2005 Wilson still worked in film marketing,[2] and also worked on film trailers.[4] His marketing work has included publicity for the Academy Awards: "When they found out that I did the Razzies, they looked at me like I was a spy," said Wilson to The Blade.[5] In 2005 he lived in Cerritos, California with his wife Barbara and young son.[2]

Golden Raspberry Awards

Wilson traditionally held pot luck dinner parties at his house in Los Angeles on the night of the Academy Awards.[6] In 1981, after the 53rd Academy Awards had completed for the evening, Wilson invited friends to give random award presentations in his living room.[2][6] The impromptu ceremony was a success, and the following week a press release about his event released by Wilson was picked up by a few local newspapers, including a mention in the Los Angeles Daily News with the headline: "Take These Envelopes, Please".[2][3][6] Wilson decided to formalize the event, after watching a double feature of Can't Stop the Music and Xanadu.[7] He gathered his friends for a pot luck dinner to watch the 53rd Academy Awards, and gave them ballots to vote on worst in film.[7] Wilson stood at a podium made of cardboard in a tacky tuxedo, with a foam ball attached to a broomstick as a fake microphone, and announced Can't Stop the Music as the first Razzie Award for Worst Picture.[3][7]

John Wilson at 28th Golden Raspberry Awards (2008)

The term raspberry is used in its irreverent sense, as in "blowing a raspberry".[8] Wilson commented to the author of Blame It on the Dog: "When I registered the term with the Library of Congress in 1980, they asked me, 'Why raspberry? What's the significance of that?' But since then, razz has pretty much permeated the culture. We couldn't have done it without Hollywood's help."[8] Wilson is referred to as "Ye Olde Head Razzberry".[9] The ceremony's program is modeled after the Academy Awards, but is "deliberately low-end and tacky".[6] The awards themselves typically cost US$4.79 each, in the form of a "golfball-sized raspberry" which sits atop a Super 8 mm film reel; the whole of which is spray-painted gold.[8][10][11]

Approximately three dozen people came to the 1st Golden Raspberry Awards.[3] The 2nd Golden Raspberry Awards had double the attendance as the first, and the 3rd awards ceremony had double this number.[3] By the 4th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony, CNN and two major wire services covered the event.[6] Wilson realized that by scheduling the Golden Raspberry Awards prior to the Academy Awards, the ceremony would get more press coverage: "We finally figured out you couldn't compete with the Oscars on Oscar night, but if you went the night before, when the press from all over the world are here and they are looking for something to do, it could well catch on," he said to BBC News.[6]

Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide was published in 2005 to mark the 25th anniversary of the awards;[12] he had previously authored Everything I Know I Learned at the Movies in 1996.[13] In addition to Razzie winners, The Official Razzie Movie Guide also includes Wilson's "100 favorites among the Worst Movies Ever Made".[12]


See also


  1. Crouse, Richard (2005). Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 103, 208. ISBN 1-55002-574-0.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Larsen, Peter (January 20, 2005). "The Morning Read – So bad, they're almost good – A love of movies lies behind the Razzies". The Orange County Register. p. 1.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Marder, Jenny (February 26, 2005). "Razzin' The Dregs of Hollywood Dreck – Film: Cerritos' John Wilson Marks His Golden Raspberry Awards' 25th Year With A Guide To Cinematic Slumming". Long Beach Press-Telegram. p. A1.
  4. English 2005, p. 101
  5. Borrelli, Christopher (February 23, 2005). "The Golden Raspberries: 25 years of the worst movies". The Blade. p. D1.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lindrea, Victoria (February 25, 2007). "Blowing raspberries at Tinseltown". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  7. 1 2 3 Germain, David (Associated Press) (February 26, 2005). "25 Years of Razzing Hollywood's Stinkers". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Sun-Sentinel Company. p. 7D.
  8. 1 2 3 Dawson 2006, pp. 48–50
  9. Crouse 2005, p. 208
  10. Agence France-Presse staff (February 22, 2009). "'Love Guru', Paris Hilton are top of the flops". Agence France-Presse.
  11. Crouse 2005, p. 103
  12. 1 2 Steelman, Ben (January 20, 2005). "Ben on Film – All that razz: Getting ready for the Razzies, the 'awards' that celebrate the worst films, and actors, of the year". Wilmington Star-News. p. 22.
  13. Wilson, John J. B. (1996). Everything I Know I Learned at the Movies: A Compilation of Cliches and Un-Truisms Gleaned from a Lifetime Spent Entirely Too Much in the Dark. General Publishing Group, Incorporated. ISBN 1-881649-64-4.


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