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Jon Lee Brody

Jon Lee Brody

LA-based filmmaker | Iron Will Productions | Class of 2007

A toast to the late, great White Horse Inn, from one of its former regulars — Jon Lee Brady, orginally of Chicagoland and now of Hollywood.

“They weren’t strict on IDs, the cops seldom raided it and you’d get top-shelf liquor on the cheap,” as Brody remembers it. “And now I realize this makes me sound like an alcoholic but this was college. We were all in that boat one way or another.”

Brody (Class of 2007) studied accounting/finance and sport management at the UI but has worked in the entertainment business ever since, starting with a stint at Beverly Hills Casting and working his way up. These days, the CEO of Iron Will Productions is one part director, one part producer, one part actor. You may have seen him in “Furious 7” (he played a car racer), “Star Trek Into Darkness” (Enterprise security guard) or on Season 3 of "Modern Family" (seminar guest).

But back to his time on campus. “It took me quite some time to think about my fav place at UIUC,” says the self-described “filmmaker, nerd, breakfast food enthusiast and Illini for life.”

“And then I realized how many years removed I am. And then I realized I’m getting old. And that put me in a funk. But really, UIUC as a whole is just a pool of fun memories for me. I love different places for different reasons.

“Pickup games at IMPE, which were some of the most competitive basketball I’ve ever played. Getting lost in the Armory. Walking in 12 feet of snow to get from my dorm to class and then giving up because (bleep) this whole walking-in-snow thing.

"And then, of course, the Domino’s Pizza on First and Green. John Q used to hook us up with literally 10 pizzas for five bucks. And he could make all 10 of those pizzas in under a minute. I kid you not.

“All in all, I look back at U of I with nothing but the fondest of memories. I was able to come back a couple years ago to check out a football game, thanks to Chris Tuttle of the Varsity I program. Hoping to make that trip down again soon. 

“And maybe, just maybe, down the line I’ll reboot the White Horse Inn. I mean, in my field of work (filmmaking), reboots are the norm. I’ll happily bring that to good old Chambana.”