Kurt C. Hall, prexy and CEO of United Artists Theatre Circuit, knew he had joined select company in being selected Motion Picture Pioneer of the Year past honorees include Bob Hope, Darryl Zanuck and Cecil B. DeMille.
Yet in accepting the honor Wednesday night at the Century Plaza hotel, he didn’t dwell on the feats of individuals. Instead, he kept the spotlight on the unique role played by the Motion Picture Pioneers, a 61-year-old group helping film vets who need financial aid, housing and medical care.
“It’s one thing that’s been lost in other industries,” Hall said. “But no matter how hard we compete or how intensely we negotiate with each other, when someone is in need, we’re always a team. We always find ways to help out.”
In the past 20 years, the Pioneers has allocated more than $4 million to needy showbizzers. Assistance is given with assurances that applicants’ identities won’t be revealed.
About $500,000 was raised for the Pioneers at Wednesday’s gala in Hall’s honor, organizers said. Hundreds of distrib and exhib execs gathered to pay tribute.
A former minor-league catcher in the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers systems, Hall has spent nearly 12 years with UA. Originally an accountant, he ascended to the CEO post in February, 1998.
He sits on the boards of directors of the Will Rogers Memorial Fund and the Pioneers. UA is based in Englewood, Colo., and he has long been involved with the Variety Club of Colorado.
Mitch Goldman, who just ended a two-year term as Pioneers prexy, summed up the evening: “His dynamic leadership, service to the community and commitment to philanthropic causes are exemplary and well-known. Kurt is inordinately respected by his peers within his own company as well as throughout the industry.”