Jack Valenti, the consummate Hollywood politician and chief of the Motion Picture Assn. of America for 38 years, died this afternoon. The news broke right while I was flying from Burbank to Oakalnd, hence the late posting. The head of the Motion Picture Association of American for 38 years, Valenti was a brilliant operator, a wise wordsmith and an elegant man. Oh, and a great raconteur.
I first met Valenti at some kind of industry gathering at the Sportmen’s Lodge on Ventura Blvd. in 1983, and I can remember to this day his sharp eagle eyes sizing me up as he smiled and shook my hand. All world-class smart guys all over the world have eagle eyes. Eyes that whir and click as they assess your vibe, your appearance, your manner. Valenti was one tough hombre. I thought he lacked flexibility as far as trying to address the wrongs of the CARA ratting system, but that was then and this is now.