David Rodriguez, a director and producer known for his work on television shows The Chi, Animal Kingdom and Chicago P.D., died on October 29 at the age of 50. Deadline reported the news of his death and confirmed that his cause of death was due to complications of a stroke.
His wife posted about his death on Instagram, writing: “RIP my beloved Soulmate. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, thank you for always having my back and taking care of me. Thank you for letting me love you in the deepest way I have ever loved anyone. You are my hero and the love of my life. I will see you on the other side.”
In addition to his television work, the New York native also worked on many movies as a writer, producer and director, including his 2006 feature film debut Push, starring Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning, Once Upon a Time in Queens and American Bully, according to his website biography.
Rodriguez, who lived in Los Angeles and Austin, is survived by his wife, Renee Props Rodriguez, and his four sons, Mitchell, Colin, Brendan and Anthony Rodriguez. He also leaves behind his mother and two sisters, Deadline reported. According to the outlet, a celebration of life will take place in Los Angeles.
Rodriguez Was Born & Raised in New York City & Worked in Law Enforcement Before Becoming a Director/Producer in 2003
Rodriguez was born on August 18, 1970, and grew up the youngest of four kids in South Bronx and Long Island, Variety reported. Rodriguez enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after attending the New York Military Academy and then began a career in law enforcement in South Florida. According to Deadline, his law enforcement career included a stint as an undercover narcotics officer.
Rodriguez then made the switch to the entertainment industry, beginning in 2003 when he wrote, produced and directed Push, “a true insiders look into the South Florida world of fast money and drug dealing,” according to Rodriguez’s biography on his website. He followed that up with American Bully, which won three film awards including Best Picture at the Charleston International Film Festival and Once Upon a Time in Queens.
Rodriguez’s website states: “David’s background in law enforcement and upbringing on the tough streets of The South Bronx provide years of first-hand experience in true human emotion and conflict, which is showcased in his filmmaking. Currently, David’s bold work as director and co-executive producer will also be seen on TNT’s gritty crime drama, ANIMAL KINGDOM from John Wells.” He is also a member of the Director’s Guild of America.
Rodriguez’s Colleagues & Fans Posted Tributes to the Late Producer & Director on Social Media
After news of Rodriguez’s death broke, many took to social media to share memories and tributes to the talented writer, producer and director. Actor Kenny Johnson wrote, “RIP David Rodriguez. This guy was an amazing man, director, and friend. I miss you buddy !! Xx”
Actor Yvette Yates wrote, “RIP @DRodinLA #DavidRodriguez he who would welcome u [with] the biggest smile & not to be outdone [with] food, music, dance. What an inspirational force he became, writer/director/showrunner, an advocate 4 Latino filmmakers, what a spectacular rise. Still so much more but u did it to the fullest.”
Director Norberto Barba wrote: “My heart just broke. Producer/Director David Rodriguez passed. 50 years old. One of my guys. My prayers to his family.”