Friday, April 27, 2007

Former MPAA Pres Jack Valenti Dies at 85

From Variety:

Jack Valenti, the colorful, charismatic head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America for almost four decades and the prime mover behind the movie ratings system, died Thursday. He was 85. Valenti had checked out of Johns Hopkins U. Medical Center on Wednesday. He had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

A private mass celebrating Valenti's life will be held in Washington. The family will announce details in the coming days.

The highly articulate and pugnacious Valenti, a former aide to President Lyndon Johnson who served as the industry's Washington, D.C., liaison from 1966-2004, was among the most visible lobbyists in the country, as comfortable testifying at a government hearing as he was appearing on the Academy Awards.
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Valenti was the man who gave us the movie rating system as we know it today, effectively bringing an end to the Production Code that governed Hollywood films for decades. While the rating system has become a joke in recent years, Valenti's original concept struck a blow against censorship, and ushered in a new era of artistic expression in American film.

He may have been a somewhat controversial figure, but one thing is for sure. Today was the end of an era in Hollywood.

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