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Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lee Heiman Lansing broke barriers as the first woman studio executive when she became head of 20th Century Fox in 1980, going on to lead Paramount Studios to create wildly successful blockbusters like Forrest Gump, Braveheart, and Titanic.

Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lee Heimann (Lansing) was born in Chicago on July 31, 1944. Her father, a real-estate agent, died of a heart attack when she was nine years old, leaving a thirty-two-year-old wife and two daughters, of whom Sherry was the elder by four and a half years. His widow declined the offer of his colleagues to help her by running his business and insisted on carrying it on by herself. This provided an excellent example of female independence for Sherry, who frequently accompanied her mother on her business rounds. Lansing graduated from Northwestern University and worked as a schoolteacher, model and actress (1970, in the films Loving and Rio Lobo). She joined MGM studios in 1973 and quickly moved up the corporate ladder.

Film Industry in the United States

The history of Jewish women’s contribution to the Hollywood film industry has been one of gradual progression toward ever higher levels of participation. For most of Hollywood’s history, the dominant tendency was to achieve a universal image that revealed no traces of ethnic heritage. This trend held until the 1960s and affected all ethnic groups. Only a few dozen Jewish actors were able to make their way into stardom under these constraints. Since the 1960s, however, Hollywood films have reflected a higher degree of ethnic diversity. The result of this change is that increasing numbers of Jewish actors have been able to establish careers in Hollywood.

Advertising and Consumer Culture in the United States

In the twentieth century, Jewish women played a disproportionate role in the development of American consumer culture because of a combination of factors. For one, American industry became increasingly consumer-oriented, and consumer industries were comparatively open to small entrepreneurs. For another, Jewish immigrants and their children tended to display strong entrepreneurial tendencies.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sherry Lansing." (Viewed on October 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/10456>.

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