Oscar-winning writer Frank R. Pierson has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
The Acad’s board of governors, of which Pierson has been a member for nearly eight years, elected him prexy Tuesday night. He took office immediately, replacing Robert Rehme, who had served the maximum of four straight one-year terms.
Also Tuesday, Roger Mayer, an executives branch governor, was elected first veepee; sound branch governor Don Rogers and actors branch governor Kathy Bates were tapped vice prexys; music branch governor Alan Bergman was elected treasurer; and producers branch governor Saul Zaentz was elected secretary.
“I accept the presidency with great humility,” Pierson, 76, told the board. “Bob Rehme has left a great gift to us all with his four years of service, and I look forward to carrying on in his tradition. One thing I know for sure: He’s left a very clean desk.”
Rehme will stay on this year in the officer position of immediate past president.
A former prez of the Writers Guild of America, Pierson has been nominated three times for an Academy Award: for “Cat Ballou” (with Walter Newman) and “Cool Hand Luke” in the adapted screenplay category and for his original screenplay of “Dog Day Afternoon,” for which he won the Oscar.
Pierson also has directed several pics, including the 1976 “A Star Is Born,” and small-screen titles such as “Citizen Cohn,” “Truman” and “Conspiracy” (which was recently nominated for 10 Emmys).
Pierson studied anthropology at Harvard U. and began his career as a journalist for Time and Life magazines. He then segued into TV scripting, and moved from there to film.
Having served as a governor repping the writers branch of the Acad, Pierson brings considerable experience to his new post. His appointment was applauded by most Acad veterans.
The prexy post brings no salary and the job description can vary, depending upon the office-holder.
Among his main tasks are oversight of the Oscars, as well as shepherding the Acad’s ambitious growth plans, which have been under way for the past decade.
Expansion include the soon-to-open Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland (which will host the Oscar ceremonies for the first time next March 24), an expanded library and the film archives (which gets a new home in Hollywood within the next 12 months).
The org also keeps refining its Oscars, this year introducing an animated film category and limiting the number of producers who can be nominated.
Pierson was first elected to the board of governors in 1993 and served one three-year term. He was elected to the board for another three-year term in 1997 and was re-elected in 2000.
Board members serve three-year terms, while Academy officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive terms in any one office.