Suicide suspected in movie producer's plunge off Angeles Crest Highway

Documentary film producer Brian Gerber took his own life late Tuesday or early Wednesday by steering his car off a cliff on Angeles Crest Highway, according to county officials.

Ed Winter, assistant chief at the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, confirmed that Gerber’s body was found near mile marker 31 at 7:35 a.m. Wednesday. Winter said investigators found a suicide note by the highway, near where the car went off the side.

Gerber, 41, produced the global warming documentary “The 11th Hour” for actor Leonardo DiCaprio and was involved in numerous other productions for the film, television and music video markets. He was a member of the board of the International Documentary Assn., according to the website of his Pasadena production firm, Gerber Rigler.

Gerber’s Toyota Prius was found about 600 feet down the embankment from the highway, said Lt. Angela Shepherd of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. His body was about 100 feet away.

Sheriff’s deputies first received a call about the accident from a passing driver around 6 a.m. The Montrose Search and Rescue team recovered Gerber’s body.

Shepherd said authorities don’t know when the crash occurred, but when deputies and rescue personnel found the car, it appeared to have been there for “a while.”

No drugs or alcohol were found at the crash site, Shepherd said.

A message on Gerber’s Facebook profile page posted on behalf of his family Wednesday confirmed the news, asking for privacy and offering thanks for the support of commenters. By 5 p.m., the page was a makeshift memorial, with more than 260 messages.

“My heart breaks for your family and for the pain you must have been experiencing,” wrote Lynn Tolleson Goodfriend, who wrote that she had known Gerber since they were children. “Your talent was astounding.”

Officer Kevin Denmon of the Altadena California Highway Patrol office said Gerber is the third person to die on Angeles Crest Highway this year. Two motorcyclists were killed after losing control of their bikes on the winding road, he said.

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

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