Sherry Lansing

Active - 1970 - 2016  |   Born - Jul 31, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller, Film, TV & Radio, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Fans of Howard Hawks' Rio Lobo (1969) may be intrigued to discover that the beautiful secondary heroine who is facially disfigured by the villains is the same person who later produced Fatal Attraction (1987), The Accused (1988) and Indecent Proposal (1993). Chicago-born film executive Sherry Lansing did indeed pursue an acting career after graduating from Northwestern University. Sensing that her film roles might be limited to Rio Lobo-type supporting parts, Ms. Lansing applied her intelligence and drive to the production end. She joined Talent Associates in 1974, where she was an executive in charge of development; three years later, she was appointed vice president in charge of production at Columbia. Hit films like the Oscar-winning Kramer vs. Kramer catapulted Ms. Lansing into the presidency of 20th Century-Fox -- the first woman ever to hold such a position. While undaunted by the heavy administrative responsibilities, Lansing preferred to be a hands-on moviemaker, thus in 1984 she teamed with one-time Paramount Pictures president Stanley R. Jaffe to form the successful independent production company, Jaffe-Lansing. When Jaffe was appointed president of Paramount Communications in 1990, Sherry Lansing became that organization's chairperson.

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  • Spent four years after college teaching English and math at public schools in the Los Angeles area
  • Became the first female to oversee a studio's motion picture production when she was appointed president of production at 20th Century Fox in 1980.
  • Named Hollywood's most powerful woman in 2002 by the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Was the CEO and chair of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures from 1992 to 2005.
  • Among the founders of the Stand Up to Cancer foundation.
  • Awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2007.
  • Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work as a studio head (the first woman studio boss to receive that honor), as well as hand and footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater.