Stanley J. Brooks, assistant director and creator of the Hollywood publication the “Brooks Standard Rate Book,” died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica on Feb. 26 due to complications of pneumonia. He was 92.
Best known for his Brooks Book, called the bible of the industry by many in studio budgeting and payroll departments, he was also an assistant director and distributor of motion picture instruction texts that ranged from script breakdown to film editing.
Born in Bucharest, he immigrated to America with his family and settled in Chicago. When WWII began, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, writing articles for Stars and Stripes as well as training to be a paymaster.
After his discharge in 1945, a friend of his who was dating actress Betty Hutton contacted him with the offer of a job in Hollywood. He relocated to the West Coast and soon found himself working at RKO studios. By the early 1950s, he had moved on to become the paymaster of all Desilu television shows, among them the classic “I Love Lucy.”
While running the payroll department at Desilu, he saw the need for combining the huge mass of Hollywood guild and union wage contracts into a single, portable volume. He published the “Brooks Standard Rate Book” in 1958. It was an instant success and hailed by payroll and budget departments, assistant directors, producers and production managers as an invaluable resource.
He also had the ambition to get out of the office and into production. In 1960, with the help of TV producer Sam Gallu, he was admitted into the Directors Guild and became an assistant director. He alternated between motion pictures (“Operation Petticoat,” “Live and Let Die” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told”) and television. The many series he worked on included such classic shows as “I Spy,” “Gunsmoke,” “Lassie,” “The High Chaparral” and “Rhoda.”
But he still continued to issue updated versions of his “Brooks Book” and in 1974 began distributing the works of other authors on film production, covering everything from script breakdown to budgeting and film editing. By the early 1980s, he segued into semi-retirement, focusing mainly on his various publications.
He and his wife Susan celebrated their 58th anniversary in September. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two sons.