After graduating from the American Film Institute at 17, Axelrod began his entertainment career writing films for Warner Brothers, MGM, and Paramount. He worked on the feature film A Star is Born for Barbra Streisand and worked with such directors as the legendary Stanley Donen, Cy Howard, Elaine May, and John Frankenheimer.
From 1977-1983 Jonathan developed and supervised more than 40 telefilms including the Emmy Winning Jericho Mile, and Friendly Fire. He was also responsible for ABC’s highest rated show The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. He was promoted to Vice President of Drama steering the direction for Dynasty and The Greatest American Hero among many other prime time hits. His tenure at ABC also included a stint as Vice President and Senior Executive of Prime Time TV overseeing all comedy, drama and variety development where he was involved with such memorable shows as Bosom Buddies and Police Squad.
In 1983 Axelrod segued to Columbia Television where he was Executive Vice President of Worldwide Production. There he revitalized the company and put ten shows on the air including Designing Women and Mike Hammer, Crazy Like a Fox and in New York The Mickey Rooney Show. He also helped Columbia become a major supplier of telefilms with such productions as The Blue and the Grey, RFK, Sadat and LBJ the Early Years.
In 1986, Axelrod then took over as president of New World Pictures for a three-year term. For this start up company, he oversaw such feature films as Crimes of Passion with Kathleen Turner and Girls Just Want to Have Fun, as well as the critically acclaimed series Crime Story and the miniseries Sins.
As an independent producer, Axelrod produced the Cable Ace Award winning Against the Wall for HBO, The Secret Passion of Robert Clayton for USA and The Price She Paid for CBS and the syndicated series Hollywood Babylon.
In 1992 Axelrod tried his luck at sitcoms. From 1992 – 2007 Axelrod Executive Produced Dave’s World, followed closely by Can’t Hurry Love, Brother’s Keeper, Movie Stars, and Some of My Best Friends. From 1992- 2003 Axelrod continued his association with John Frankenheimer. Their Company was involved in Wallace(HBO), Andersonville(TNT), Burning Season(HBO) and RFK(FX). In 2006-2007 Axelrod ex-produced the hour drama Sex, Love and Secrets (Denise Richards) For UPN and CBS Studios.
In 2007 Axelrod joined the Obama campaign until Nov. ’08.
Currently Axelrod is the PRESIDENT of AECG.