Stars, studio execs and politician turned out for Jack Valenti’s funeral on Tuesday, mourning the longtime head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America who effortlessly mixed the worlds of D.C. and L.A.
Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Steven Spielberg, Ted Kennedy, Donald Rumsfeld, Martin Scorsese, Michael Eisner, Brad Grey, Ron Meyer, Michael Lynton and Peter Chernin were among those in attendance.
Variety’s William Triplett reports: “Had it not taken place in St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Jack Valenti’s funeral could have easily been mistaken for a Hollywood preem in the nation’s capital. D.C. police sealed off the entire block surrounding the landmark building, stretch limos lined the street in front, Secret Service-types with ear pieces and sunglasses were placed strategically along the entry steps, and throngs of reporters, photographers and celebrity-watchers gathered for a glimpse of political, media and showbiz elites.”
From the AP: “If you were Jack’s friend, your troubles became his troubles,” said Kirk Douglas. “When the time comes for me to be upstairs waiting for St. Peter to see me, I expect Jack to find me and bring me to the big man.”
“In his eulogy, Charles Bartlett _ a Valenti friend and Washington neighbor _ spoke to the dual nature of Valenti’s career, saying he flew from coast to coast in an attempt to balance popular culture and public favor _ serving, in effect, two masters.”
According to the Washington Examiner’s Yeas and Nays, Sen. Daniel Inouye, LBJ aide Lloyd Hand, Valenti’s son John, and Warner Bros. chief Barry Meyer all read from Valenti’s as-yet-unreleased memoir, “This Time. This Place.”
“I always said I could imagine Jack giving his own eulogy, and in fact he did,” said Tom Quinn, a lobbyist with Venable LLP.
“It was one of the few Washington events that people actually affectionately came,” added Quinn. “It wasn’t business, they were here because they cared for Jack.”
Most of the mourners wore white roses on their lapels.
The full list of honorary pallbearers read like a compact Who’s Who of Hollywood and Capitol Hill. Among the more prominent: Chernin, Robert Iger, Sherry Lansing, Meyer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Bochco, Gil Cates, Christopher Dodd, Dianne Feinstein, Dan Glickman, Henry Hyde, Clint Eastwood, Billy Tauzin, George Tenet and John Warner.