01 Jun 2004


Roll the Credits


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After a 38-year run as Hollywood’s leading man in Washington, Jack Valenti (MBA ’3/48) announced in March that he will step down as president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Valenti, a Houston native, was a longtime political consultant to Lyndon Johnson, dating back to 1955 when Johnson was Senate Majority Leader. Valenti was in the Dallas motorcade the day President Kennedy was shot and hours later was sworn in aboard Air Force One as special assistant to the newly elevated President Johnson.

Valenti became MPAA head in 1966; two years later, “he helped create the ratings system, to challenge government boards that censored Hollywood content” (USA Today, March 24, 2004). In those days, the movies were the country’s undisputed entertainment choice; today, by contrast, there is an “onslaught of competition for the eye and ear of consumers,” as Valenti noted in a March speech to a convention of theater owners. But, he declared, “The movie theater will survive and prosper because the theater offers an epic viewing experience that cannot be duplicated in the home.”

The author of four books, Valenti told USA Today, “I’ve been lucky enough to live an exciting life. Maybe if I wrote about it, there would be some people interested in reading it.”

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