Sherry Lansing: Game-Changer for Women in Hollywood

The Hollywood hierarchy is continually evolving due to shifting market trends and principal staff. However, some individuals leave an enduring impact, like Sherry Lansing, who significantly influenced the film industry. Lansing began her career as an actress before making waves as the first female production president, leading to a successful career in a major studio. This article highlights Lansing’s journey, her successes, and the legacy she left behind.

Sherry Lansing’s Early Careers In Hollywood

Sherry Lansing’s Hollywood journey commenced as an actress. Although she did not achieve the initial breakout success she aspired to, she firmly believed this turn of events was a blessing in disguise. In an interview for the 2007 book CosmoGirl! Secrets of Success: 38 Leaders Tell You How to Achieve Your Dreams, Lansing explained how her love for the magic of movies inspired her to switch to a behind-the-scenes role.

Later in the 1970s, Lansing moved into the realm of script reading. Stephen Galloway’s 2017 biography Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker, details how, under the recommendation of producer Ray Wagner, Lansing transitioned from acting to script reading. This led to her becoming an executive story editor at MGM in 1975 and later, she joined Columbia Pictures as a Vice President of Production in 1977, a role that would catapult her to significant successes.

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How Sherry Lansing Changed The Game For Women In Hollywood

At Columbia Pictures, Lansing oversaw two significant box-office hits in 1979, The China Syndrome and Kramer vs. Kramer. The latter won the Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Supporting Actress awards. A year later, she broke new ground as the first female production president at 20th Century Fox, a position she held until 1982.

Later, Sherry ventured into producing and built a strong partnership with Paramount Pictures through hits like The Accused, Black Rain, and School Ties.

The Paramount Era: An “Unprecedented” Tenure Of Success

From 1992 to 2005, Sherry Lansing held the title of chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. She left an indelible mark in Paramount’s history as six out of the studio’s ten highest-grossing movies were made during her tenure, including Forrest Gump, Braveheart, and Titanic. Unfortunately, a restructuring move after Viacom acquired the studio resulted in many departures, changing the atmosphere and encouraging Lansing’s thoughts of retirement.

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However, Sherry Lansing’s departure did not mark the end of her story. Instead, she embarked on a new journey, focusing on philanthropy and leveraging The Sherry Lansing Foundation to make significant contributions in education and cancer research. Lansing, who lost her mother to cancer, is passionate about furthering cancer awareness and research. She has been recognized for her philanthropic work with the prestigious Jean Hersholdt Humanitarian Award in 2007.

Wrapping Up

Throughout her career, Sherry Lansing has paved the way for women in Hollywood and set an example for her peers with her focus on philanthropy after retirement. She has exemplified the importance of making meaningful contributions in every phase of life, truly embodying the essence of a trailblazer. To learn more about the inspiring figures in Hollywood, be sure to visit HitPlay.