From the beginning, Hollywood was a family business presided over by legendary names like Mayer, Goldwyn, Laemmle, Warner, and Zukor. In a unique exploration of the culture of faith, family legacies, and the entertainment industry, Pepperdine University hosted a series of celebrations, film screenings, and panel discussions celebrating the Jewish visionaries who helped create Hollywood. The series explores how the aspirations of Jewish immigrants became the celluloid dreams embraced by audiences around the world.
An exhibit in Pepperdine University's Payson Library featured photography from the golden age of Hollywood by noted photographer Leigh Wiener as well as well as photographs of legendary Los Angeles movie palaces from the collection of Bruce Corwin.
An evening with the award-winning creator and executive producer of the ground-breaking television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Serving as a benefit for the creation of the George Schlatter Comedy Collection at Pepperdine, the celebration featured such noted entertainment legends as Larry King, Lily Tomlin, and Tim Conway. "We honor George's lifetime of service—to the art of comedy and the joy of laughter," said Craig Detweiler. "What's more, this evening continues George's lifelong commitment to comedy by creating a gathering place and living laboratory at Pepperdine to learn the art of improv, and comedic writing and performance."
A tribute to fathers and sons with special guests, Bruce and David Corwin from Metropolitan Theatres, Hawk Koch, president of the Producers Guild of American and entertainment attorney Robert Koch, and Academy Award winning producer, Walter Mirisch and Lawrence MIrisch, owner of the Mirisch Agency. Our projections of Jewish Faith, Ethnicity and Culture included clips from Mr. Mirisch's films West Side Story, In the Heat of the Night, and Fiddler on the Roof and Mr. Koch's films, The Way We Were, Wayne's World, and Keeping the Faith. What an opportunity to host two former presidents of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on the same stage!
After screening My Favorite Year, we heard from Richard Benjamin, Michael Gruskoff, Lanie Kazan, Norman Steinberg, and Madeline Warren about the making of this madcap peek behind-the-scenes at a live sketch comedy show where an intoxicated guest star must be sobered up before show time. My Favorite Year garnered an Oscar nomination for Peter O'Toole and sparked a Broadway musical.
Carl Laemmle and his son, Carl Laemmle, Jr. oversaw production of classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. Their cousins, Max and Kurt, founded the premiere chain of arthouse cinemas, the Laemmle Theatres. This special pre-Halloween party featured director Pancho Kohner, son of Lupita Tovar who starred in the 1931 Spanish-version of Dracula (and is still alive at age 103!), Robert Laemmle, president and owner of Laemmle Theatres.
Women have played important roles in the entertainment industry from its earliest days, achieving success as artists and attaining leadership positions in the industry. Yet significant challenges still exist. How have leading women navigated the entertainment industry? What recent breakthroughs suggest a new era of opportunity has arisen? This symposium addressed the issues facing women individually and collectively in the entertainment industry.
"Women in creative, business, and legal roles still face a scarcity of opportunities in entertainment," said Professor Thomas J. Stipanowich, academic director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. "This event helped advance the discussion on how to manage conflicts and relationships, both personal and professional, in order to successfully negotiate the system."
Featured guests included film historian Cari Beauchamp, director Lesli Linka Glater (The Newsroom), director Victoria Hochberg (Ghost Whisperer), entertainment attorney Linda Lichter of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman, former WGA president Victoria Riskin and Tom Sherak, past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Saturday features Nell Scovell, co-writer of the massive best seller, Lean In with Sheryl Sandberg, and the producers of the groundbreaking young adult series Lucy Fisher (Divergent), Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games) and Melissa Rosenberg (The Twilight Saga).
Developed in collaboration with the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture and Pepperdine University Libraries, the Hollywood Visionaries and Beyond series is supported by the Brenden Mann Foundation. The Foundation was founded by Johnny Brenden, the grandson of Hollywood producer and theater magnate Ted Mann. Craig Detweiler, director of Pepperdine's Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture states, "How appropriate that Johnny Brenden seeks to remember the legacy of his grandfather, Ted Mann, with this celebration of Hollywood visionaries." Ted Mann received an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine in 1989.
The Brenden Mann Foundation was established by theater entrepreneur Johnny Brenden, whose grandfather Ted Mann founded Mann Theatres. As a devoted philanthropist and Hollywood legend, Ted Mann contributed to a variety of charities during his lifetime through the efforts of his own family foundation. Johnny Brenden continues to build upon his grandfather's philanthropic spirit and generous heart through the Brenden Mann Foundation. Based in Las Vegas, the Brenden Mann Foundation supports numerous arts, education, health, social service and religious organizations worldwide with special emphasis in Minnesota and Southern Nevada and California. The ongoing mission of the Brenden Mann Foundation is to continue the Mann family tradition of giving back to the community and making a positive difference in the lives of others.
George Schlatter came to Pepperdine University to play football, but a campus job in the theater department altered his trajectory and the history of television. Creator and executive producer of the groundbreaking series Laugh-In, George's comedic genius captivated the nation and brought laughter into millions of homes. Adapting the vaudeville tradition to the speed and intimacy of television, he set the standard for sketch comedy and paved the way for shows like Saturday Night Live, The Muppet Show, and Sesame Street. Spanning more than six decades, George's resume includes founding the American Comedy Awards, producing the Grammy Awards, the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards, birthday celebrations for Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., and the reality television series Real People.
During his career, Schlatter was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards, winning twice for Laugh-In as Outstanding Musical or Variety Program and for Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration as Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. He was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America award in 1997. Schlatter has been credited for helping to launch the careers of such entertainers as Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, and Robin Williams. He was the creator and producer of the annual American Comedy Awards and the television program, Real People. http://georgeschlatter.com/
Special thanks to: Rabbi David Baron, Temple of the Arts; Bruce Corwin, Chairman and CEO of Metropolitan Pictures; Sheila King, Director, Corporate & Foundation Relations - Pepperdine; Ken LaZebnik, Director for Library Advancement and Public Affairs - Pepperdine; Milt Moritz, President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners of California/Nevada; Genevieve Smith, journalist and Pepperdine graduate; Larry Turman, Director of The Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California; Doug Warner, Chairman of Warner Artist Management; David Weil, CEO of Anschutz Film Group.
Members of the symposium planning committee include major film and television professionals as well as Pepperdine University faculty and staff members. They include: Thomas J. Stipanowich, Straus Institute; William Nix, Straus Center for Entertainment & Sports Law, industry advisor, and Adjunct Professor; Stephanie Bell, Assistant Director and Associate Professor of Law; Craig Detweiler, Ph.D., Seaver College Communications Professor and director of Pepperdine's Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture (EMC); Kathryn Linehan, EMC Manager; Cari Beauchamp, film historian and author of Without Lying Down: Francis Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood; Susan Cartsonis, studio production executive, independent film producer, and chair of the Women in Film Foundation (WIFF); Ivy Kagan Bierman, partner at Loeb & Loeb and Women in Film Foundation board member; Rachel Kimbrough, Vice-President of Business & Legal Affairs at Lions Gate Entertainment (a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law); Ghen Laraya Long, entertainment and technology attorney and WIFLA V.P. Technology and Executive Board Member; Terry Lawler, executive director of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT); Victoria Riskin, screenwriter, producer, and former Writer's Guild of America West (WGAW) President; Kim Richardson, Vice-President, Legal Affairs, Universal Studios; Jennifer Schaeffer Snitko, Studio Business Affairs lawyer, CORE Media Group (a graduate of Pepperdine University Seaver College and School of Law); Suzelle M. Smith, partner with Howarth & Smith; Bonnie Stylides, Studio Business Affairs lawyer and former Senior V.P. Business Legal, Participant Media; and Christa Zofcin, Executive Vice-President, Business & Legal Affairs, River Road Entertainment (a graduate of Pepperdine University Seaver College, School of Law and the George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management).