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Viva Valenti

To the Editor:

Jack Valenti says he isn’t going anywhere, and, besides, he adds, he’s in no hurry to go there.

Hollywood should make sure that he stays where he is.

Providing a leader and diplomat like this president and CEO of The Motion Picture Association of America requires time and deliberation. The position is more important to the future of the American filmed entertainment industry than any other. What will be ahead will be determined more by this person than by anyone else, with no e exceptions.

Mr. Valenti is as vigorous and agile today as he ever was. I had the pleasure of chatting with him March 28 at the retirement party he hosted for his long-time aide, senior vice-president of administration Bethlyn Hand. He couldn’t have been more vital and concerned about his industry. At 81 he is ready for new accomplishments. I’m much older than he, and I know how his recent successes surpass those of such of his predecessors as Will Hays and Eric Johnson. (If anyone believes being older than 81 is too old I challenge that person in the 2004 L.A. Marathon.)

Those who decide who the next head will be should somehow obtain a promise from Mr. Valenti that he will remain to represent the MPAA until at least after the next national presidential election. Critical situations today which require Mr. Valenti’s expertise include foreign piracy, anti-American boycotts, percentage restrictions on American films, domestic censorship movements, transitions to digital, runaway production, attacks on the rating system and copying from TV showings. Only Mr. Valenti knows what other forces he is also dealing with in Washington.

Hollywood has been losing many of its stars lately. It should keep this one as long as possible. He helps assure a firmament for the others.

Julian Myers

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