WASHINGTON — On June 22, former Motion Picture Assn. of America topper Jack Valenti — renowned for his sparkling and sometimes lengthy way with the spoken word — received so much praise and thanks for his 38-year tenure that he had very little to say.
“I’m beyond gratitude,” Valenti uttered in a voice full of emotion to the crowd of friends and colleagues who were on hand for a ceremony that renamed MPAA’s D.C. headquarters the Jack Valenti Building.
Valenti’s broad political appeal and success on Hollywood’s behalf were evident in the bipartisan turnout: Senate Republicans Ted Stevens (Alaska) and John Sununu (N.H.) attended ; as did Senate Democrats Dan Inouye (Hawaii) and Joe Biden (Del.), among others. Studios were also present in force, featuring toppers Peter Chernin, Brad Grey, Bob Iger, Barry Meyer and Steve Mosko. Chernin credited him for having repeatedly shepherded the movie biz through times both thick and thin, adding, “It’s fitting this building be renamed after Jack because Jack is the closest thing to a permanent figure the industry has ever had.”
Current MPAA prexy-chief and master of ceremonies Dan Glickman said, “I’m not Jack Valenti. I wish I were Jack Valenti.”