MTV Remembers Eli Richbourg

Photo: Eli Richbourg and Joel Schumacher, at left, upon mtvU winning the Emmy Governor’s Award -- the highest award bestowed by the Academy -- for its Sudan campaign. (Getty)

Photo: Eli Richbourg and Joel Schumacher, at left, upon mtvU winning the Emmy Governor’s Award — the highest award bestowed by the Academy — for its Sudan campaign. (Getty)

Eli Richbourg — who recently passed away at age 42 — might not be a household name, yet there’s a good chance he touched your life. While the writer and producer is best-known for collaborating with Joel Schumacher (director of “The Lost Boys,” “Flatliners,”, “A Time To Kill”, “Phantom of the Opera”), he also worked on many of MTV’s most impactful pro-social campaigns.

In other words, if you took part in A Thin Line, Choose or Lose, mtvU’s Sudan campaign or countless other MTV campaigns, you were a part of something that Eli helped make great. After Eli unexpectedly lost his life to a cerebral aneurysm, MTV wanted to honor his legacy and celebrate the great work he’s done in motivating young people to change the world. “Eli had very powerful ideas for our campaigns,” said Stephen Friedman, president of MTV. “He had this rare mix of empathy and gravitas, and a deep intellectual curiosity about the world.”

+ Watch some of Eli’s work in MTV’s Fight For Your Rights Campaign.

Eli worked on a variety of campaigns for MTV and one of his biggest strengths was bringing out the stories of the unknown. “At mtvU, when we were working on our Darfur campaign — and this was back in 2004 — the very first spot we did was with a young man named Francis Bok who had literally been enslaved in Sudan and finally escaped. Joel with Eli were able to make this very complicated story accessible and moving,” explained Friedman.

+ Watch some of Eli’s work in mtvU’s Sudan Campaign.

Added Friedman about Eli’s legacy: “Eli never wanted credit, and yet he gave selflessly. All the campaigns he worked on impacted millions of young people. He lives on in the work he did for the greater good of the world. I feel blessed to have had him as a friend, and all of us at MTV were honored to work with him. We will always be grateful for what he brought to our audience and our lives.”

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