He co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986, with Ron Howard. The films they produced have grossed over $13 billion. The movies include four for which Grazer was personally nominated for an Academy Award: Splash (1984), Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and Frost/Nixon (2008). His films and TV shows have been nominated for 43 Academy Awards, and 131 Emmys.
In 2002, Grazer won an Oscar for Best Picture for A Beautiful Mind (shared with Ron Howard). In 2007, he was named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World".
Grazer was born in Los Angeles, California, to Arlene Becker Grazer and criminal attorney Thomas Grazer. He is the older brother of Nora Beth Grazer (born 1952) and actor/director Gavin Grazer (1956). He was raised in Sherman Oaks and Northridge, in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley.
Grazer's mother is Jewish and his father was Catholic, and he described himself in 2000 as "half-Jewish". Subsequently, third-party reports conflicted as to whether he was Jewish or a practicing Christian. His parents divorced when he was in high school. Grazer said "My best buddy, the most important person in my growing up, was my little 4-foot-10 Jewish grandmother, and she'd say, 'In order to get it, you got to do it. No one's going to get it for you, Brian.'"