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 earpieces 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.
Providing the Hollywood wattage were Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steven Spielberg, Barry Diller, Barry Meyer, Robert Wagner, Terry Semel, Alan Horn, Brad Grey and Michael Eisner. Journos Sam Donaldson, Ted Koppel, Bill Moyers, Mike Wallace, Chris Wallace, Bob Schieffer, Al Hunt, Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Tim Russert and Judy Woodruff were mixed among pols including Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The full list of honorary pallbearers read like a compact Who’s Who of Hollywood and Capitol Hill. Among the more prominent: Peter Chernin, Robert Iger, Sherry Lansing, Ron Meyer, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Bochco, Gil Cates, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dan Glickman, former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), Clint Eastwood, former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), former CIA director George Tenet and Sen. John Warner (R-Va.).
The total number of attendees appeared to be about 700.
The private service — deeply moving but closed to press coverage, per family wishes — ran almost two hours in the same cathedral where the funeral service for President John F. Kennedy was held almost 44 years earlier. A WWII veteran, Valenti will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on May 9.
Later Tuesday the Senate approved a resolution introduced by Feinstein honoring the life of Valenti.
“Jack Valenti was a larger-than-life man and an innovator who built the Motion Picture Assn. of America into a great institution,” Feinstein said. “More than that, he was a friend who is truly missed. My condolences go to Mary Margaret, their children and the rest of the Valenti family.”
Co-sponsors of the Resolution include Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dodd, Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Kennedy, Kerry, Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Leahy, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Specter and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).