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Sherry Lansing
CEO, The Sherry Lansing Foundation

Sherry LansingDuring almost 30 years in the motion picture business, Sherry Lansing was involved in the production, marketing and distribution of more than 200 films, including Academy Award® winners Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995), and the highest grossing movie of all time, Titanic (1997). Throughout her film career, Lansing earned a reputation as a trailblazer, a visionary leader and a creative filmmaker. In 1984, she became the first woman to head a major film studio when she took the top job at 20th Century Fox. Later, as an independent producer, Lansing was responsible for such successful films as, Fatal Attraction, School Ties, Indecent Proposal, Black Rain, and The Accused. Returning to the executive ranks in 1992, Lansing was named Chairman of Paramount Pictures and began an unprecedented tenure that lasted more than 12 years (1992 - 2005) during which the studio enjoyed enormous creative and financial success.

Though many would consider this enough of a legacy to warrant a graceful transition into quiet retirement, Lansing has approached her post-Hollywood life with the same enthusiasm and creativity that characterized her earlier career.

"I left Paramount at the ripe young age of sixty," notes Lansing. "A generation ago, that would have been retirement age. But my generation has more energy, more drive, and a greater life expectancy than any group of retirees before us. We are going to be here for two decades or more past 'retirement' age and we want to do something relevant in the so-called third act of our lives."

For Lansing, that "something" was the creation of The Sherry Lansing Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cancer research, education, art and culture. Among Lansing's initiatives within the Foundation is PrimeTime LAUSD, a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District designed to engage retirees over 60 in improving the state of public education through targeted volunteerism.

Though she is best known for her long and successful career as a studio executive, Lansing also spent four years after college teaching high school English and math at public schools throughout the Los Angeles area. This experience, coupled with Lansing's long-held belief in the power of education to create lasting social change, has helped secure the place of education on the Foundation's slate of projects.

Lansing sits on the boards of The Carter Center, Teach for America, and The American Association for Cancer Research. Additionally, she is a Regent of the University of California and serves as chair of the University Health Services Committee. Lansing also serves on Governor Schwarzenegger's Committee on Education Excellence as well as the California State Superintendent of Education's P-16 Advisory Council.

In December 2004, Lansing was appointed to the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The CIRM was established by California's groundbreaking ballot measure, Proposition 71, which provides for $3 billion in funding for embryonic stem cell research. Lansing serves as the patient advocate for Cancer, as well as the chair of the Governance Committee and co-chair of the Scientific and Medical Accountability Standards Working Group.

Lansing additionally serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Friends of Cancer Research, and on the board of the Lasker Foundation. Lansing also lends her energy and talents to the American Red Cross Board of Governors and to Stop Cancer, a non-profit philanthropic group she founded in partnership with Dr. Armand Hammer.

Lansing graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Northwestern University in 1966.

Among Honors Received

Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship (2003)

Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America (2000)

Overcoming Obstacles Achievement Award for Business (1996)

YWCA Silver Achievement Award (1996)

Economic Equity Award from the Women's Equity Action League (1980)

Distinguished Community Service Award from Brandeis University (1982)

Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Memorial Award (1989)

Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the American Film Institute (2003)

Simon Wiesenthal Center Distinguished Service Award for the Performing Arts (1992)

Pioneer of the Year by the Foundation of the Motion Picture Pioneers (1996)

Horatio Alger Humanitarian Award (2004)

Big Brothers Big Sisters (L.A.) Legacy Award (2005)

American Association of Cancer Research Public Service Award (2006)

First woman studio head to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1996)

First woman studio head to place hand and foot prints at Grauman's Chinese Theater (2005)


Board Membership

Member, Board of Directors:
  • Stop Cancer (Chair)
  • Friends of Cancer Research (Executive Committee)
  • Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Cancer Patient Advocate)
  • The Lasker Foundation
  • Teach for America
  • Big Sisters of Los Angeles Future Fund (Co-Founder)
  • Civic Ventures
  • EnCorps (Founder and Chair)
  • Qualcomm
Member, Board of Trustees:
  • Regents of the University of California, Health Services Committee Chair
  • The University of Chicago
  • The Carter Center
  • American Association for Cancer Research
Member, Advisory Committee:
  • Governor Schwarzenegger's Advisory Committee on Educational Excellence
  • California Public Instruction Superintendent's P-16 Council
  • Donors Choose
  • RAND Health