Sherry Lansing to receive Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Besides Once Upon a Time in the West composer Ennio Morricone, another honoree at the 2007 Academy Awards ceremony will be former Paramount chairperson and 20th Century Fox President of Production Sherry Lansing, an advocate for cancer research who will be handed the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
During her tenure at Paramount in the 1990s, the Chicago-born (on July 31, 1944) Lansing oversaw/greenlit the production of Best Picture Oscar winners Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995), and Titanic (1997) – in addition to the highly controversial decision of allowing her husband (since 1991), William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist), to direct the 1995 thriller – and eventual critical and box office bomb – Jade.
Producer Sherry Lansing
Individual Sherry Lansing credits include, as a producer:
- Adrian Lyne’s Best Picture Oscar nominee Fatal Attraction (1987), starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer.
- Jonathan Kaplan’s The Accused (1988), which earned Jodie Foster that year’s Best Actress Oscar.
- The Ridley Scott-Michael Douglas thriller Black Rain (1989).
- Adrian Lyne’s cheesily controversial Indecent Proposal (1993), a box office hit starring Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson.
As an actress, Sherry Lansing was seen in the 1970 releases Loving and Rio Lobo.
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is named after the Danish-born actor (on July 12, 1886, in Copenhagen) who played leads and top supporting roles in Hollywood movies from the 1920s to the 1940s. Among them:
- Erich von Stroheim’s Greed (1924).
- Ernst Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927).
- D.W. Griffith’s The Battle of the Sexes (1928).
- Frank Capra’s The Younger Generation (1929).
- Edmund Goulding’s Best Picture Academy Award winner Grand Hotel (1932).
- George Cukor’s Dinner at Eight (1933).
- As the titular physician in Bernard Vorhaus’ Meet Dr. Christian (1939), and its five sequels.
Motion Picture Relief Fund
In the late 1930s, Jean Hersholt helped to form the Motion Picture Relief Fund, an organization to assist film industry employees in need of medical care. The Fund eventually evolved into the Motion Picture & Television Fund, located in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills.
In 1940, the Academy gave Hersholt, producer-screenwriter Ralph Block, and actors Ralph Morgan and Conrad Nagel special plaques acknowledging their efforts on creating the Motion Picture Relief Fund.
Ten years later, Hersholt – Academy President from 1945 to 1949 – was given an Honorary Oscar “for distinguished service to the motion picture industry.”
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
In 1956, the same year Jean Hersholt died of cancer at age 69, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was created to honor “an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
Past recipients of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award include Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Rosalind Russell, George Seaton, Martha Raye, Quincy Jones, George Jessel, Roger Mayer, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Y. Frank Freeman, Samuel Goldwyn, Charlton Heston, Lew Wasserman, and Arthur Hiller.
Motion Picture & Television Fund website.
Sherry Lansing image: Firooz Zahedi.
“Sherry Lansing: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for Former Paramount CEO” last updated in March 2018.