- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Sherry Lansing, the pioneering Hollywood producer who opened doors for women in studio executive suites, plans to leave her position as chairwoman of Paramount Pictures when her contract expires next year, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The newspaper, citing an unidentified source, said Miss Lansing will help choose her successor and aid in the transition.

Miss Lansing, 60, has been at the helm during Paramount’s box office slump over the past three years.

The former actress and model, in 1980 became the first female president of production for a Hollywood studio when she gained the position at 20th Century Fox.

In 1983 she became a partner with producer Stanley Jaffe, and they made such films as “Fatal Attraction” and “The Accused.”

Mr. Jaffe was named president of Paramount Communications, and in 1992 he made Miss Lansing studio chief. She was a key player in the Oscar-winning blockbusters “Titanic,” “Braveheart” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

Her departure when her contract expires at the end of 2005 would lead to another high-profile Hollywood succession. Walt Disney’s chief executive, Michael Eisner, has said he will leave when his contract expires in 2006.

Carl Folta, a spokesman for Viacom Inc., which owns Paramount, declined to comment on the report when reached yesterday by Associated Press.

Miss Lansing, who broke into Hollywood in the late 1960s after a career as a math teacher, has been a role model in the film industry — helping to pave the way for such female executives as Columbia Pictures’ Amy Pascal, Universal Pictures Chairwoman Stacey Snider and the late Columbia Pictures head Dawn Steel.

Miss Lansing also sits on numerous boards, including the Rand Corp., the American Red Cross and the University of Chicago.

She is married to director William Friedkin, who made “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection.”

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