DENICE SHAKARIAN HALICKI
Denice Halicki is the CEO of Halicki Films. She is an Executive Producer and the gasoline behind the car film, "Gone in 60 Seconds", starring Nicolas Cage,
Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi and Robert Duvall and of course Eleanor (Fastback Ford Mustang). Ten years in the making, she finally made her dream come
true, when the film was released on June 9th, 2000 and skyrocketed to the number one film in America and became an International blockbuster at the box
office grossing over $350 million.
Denice was born and raised in Southern California into a prominent dairy family. Her great-grandfather Isaac started with 3 cows and built Reliance Dairy into the world's largest privately owned dairy chain and her grandfather Demos Shakarian founded the world-renowned Full Gospel Businessman's Fellowship International. Today under her father Richard's leadership as International President FGBMFI represents over 160 nations. Denice's mother's family originated from Norwegian missionaries whose pilgrimage led them to China. Both worlds exposed her to global leaders within politics, business and religion.
Denice attended Oral Roberts University. While pursuing an academic life, she acted as the "television ambassador" to the president of the university, hosting such personalities as Bob Hope and Natalie Cole. She also modeled and spent time speaking to youth groups and women's organizations throughout the country.
In 1983 Denice met the Man who would change her life forever. Sparks flew for six years then on May 11, 1989 she married H.B. 'Toby' Halicki - known to his friends, fans and the film world as "The Car Crash King". During their courtship, Denice became a businesswoman, helping Toby run his business empire, learning the "ins" and "outs" of the film, real estate and the automobile worlds.
After their honeymoon, they began to shoot Gone in 60 Seconds 2 which was not a remake, sequel or based off the 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds. Toby Halicki wanted a new bigger story, this was about a professional international thief; specializing in high profile jobs and the thief unwittingly becomes the central figure in this cross-continental-duel-to-the-death to locate a secret item and steal it… before it falls in the clutches of the most feared man alive.
On August 20, 1989 while filming in Dunkirk and Buffalo, New York, Toby was preparing for the most dramatic stunt sequence in the film, during which a 160-foot-tall water tower would suddenly topple, a cable attached to the tower snapped. The cable sheared off a telephone pole, which fell on and instantly killed him.
In light of the Gone in 60 Seconds 2 project, and their recent marriage, there were a number of legal challenges to Toby Halicki estate. In pursuit of Toby's dream and to protect his estate and legacy Denice had to go through 7 trials, proving forgery, theft and fraud in trying to protect Toby's films and his large antique toy and vintage automobile collection. It's one of the largest in the world and contained over 100,000 antique vintage toys dating back to the 1920's all hand picked and placed in the collection by Toby. The vast collection was the size of a football field surrounded by an authentic old western town with hidden doors. When Toby would drive to work, he would drive the car into his office and park it by his desk. Even in their 8 acre dream home Toby was building so that cars would drive into the house. Denice was passionate about preserving Toby's legacy. After seven trials, in 1994 the court released Toby's films (1974 "Gone in 60 seconds", 1980 "The Junkman" 1983 "Deadline Auto theft" and 1989 Gone in 60 Seconds 2) to Denice, but in the battle to protect Toby's legacy Denice lost the toy and car collection and was devastated.
The Studios came knocking in 1994 and after Denice heard Michael Lynton (President Disney/Hollywood Picture) story that when he was a little boy in the Netherlands he watched and watched one movie and that was Toby's Gone in 60 Seconds. Michael Lynton passion on making a remake got Denice to say 'Yes'. She's said let's make team and do this. Denice license some of her rights to Disney/Hollywood Picture to make a remake in 1995.
The next 4 years Denice as Executive Producer worked with the writer, Scott Rosenberg, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney on the project. Nicolas Cage
came aboard while the Script was being tightened up. Nicolas is one of the biggest fans of H.B. Halicki's and the Original Gone in 60 Seconds. In
1999 filming began with the Award-Winning Cast Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, and Robert Duvall and of course Eleanor (star car) reprised
her role, along with army of stunt men and crew led by Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Director Dominic Sena. Dominic (one of Sena 1st job as a
cameramen was when H.B. Halicki hired him on Halicki's 2nd film called "The Junkman" its in the Guinness World Book of Records for wrecking over
150 Cars, Trucks and Planes.)
On June 9, 2000 Denice kept Toby's legacy alive and in the opening weekend, the remake Gone in 60 Seconds grossed $25,336,048 from 3,006 US theaters, leading all films that weekend.
In the year 2000, under the banner of Halicki Films, Denice began working with producer partner Michael Leone to put together a film restoration team and a worldwide distribution arm that works on all Halicki titles. All the DVDs and VHSs have very unique and innovative elements. They include found footage, original marketing materials, hundreds of rare photos and interviews with icons in the automobile racing, manufacturing and filmmaking industries. On the "Original Gone in 60 Seconds" DVD Denice sat down with Lee Iacocca, the father of the Ford Mustang, and he spoke about Eleanor and the creation of the Ford Mustang.
Halicki Films independently re-released the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" in late 2000 with Eleanor's 40-minute car chase scene and the critics and consumers are wild about it "One of the Greatest Chase Scenes in History!"…USA Today.
"The Junkman" which is 2nd in the Gone in 60 Seconds trilogy series was re-released independently in 2001 under the Halicki Films. "The Junkman" is in the Guinness World Book of Records for wrecking over 150 Cars, Trucks and Planes
Also under Halicki Films Banner they made a licensing deal with Racing Champions ERTL released a series of toys, models & die cast cars of Eleanor and other hot cars from the Original Gone in 60 Seconds and The Junkman Movies.
In 2004 Halicki Films independently release a special edition DVD with H.B. Halicki's 3rd in the trilogy "Deadline Auto Theft", a rare footage and a 45 minute documentary "The Life and Times of H.B. Halicki" produced under Halicki Films and SPEED TV (FOX). Also included on the DVD was Toby & Denice Halicki's unfinished 1989 "Gone in 60 second 2" (30 minute chase scene) which is not a sequel, or remake and it was not based off the 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds. Toby Halicki wanted a new bigger story, this was about a professional international thief; specializing in high profile jobs and the thief unwittingly becomes the central figure in this cross-continental-duel-to-the-death to locate a secret item and steal it… before it falls in the clutches of the most feared man alive. Toby had bought over 400 hundred cars to destroy in the chase scene. Denice plans on finishing their dream and will make a new Gone in 60 Seconds 2 based off the 1989 unfinished movie to keep Toby Halicki's Legacy alive.
While accepting engagements as a motivational speaker around the world, Denice is also working on a book about what it took to make her dream come true in Hollywood's film machine, her fight to preserve the legacy of the man she loved and to encourage others. Denice firmly believes that: "In times of adversity don't quit. Even when you think you have failed, don't quit. Your dreams may be just around the corner."