Shattering Hollywood's notorious glass ceiling, through which women in the movie industry previously could not pass, Sherry Lansing worked her way up the ladder to become the first woman to head production at a major studio (20th Century Fox), and then kept going. Sherry began her career in Hollywood after teaching math in inner city LA. She went from a short stint as a model and an actress, to a manuscript reader, and after working at 20th Century Fox and founding her own production company, she came to Paramount Pictures as studio chief. There, Lansing's movies were known as much for the strong women portrayed in them as for their box-office magic. Such iconic movies as Titanic, Fatal Attraction, Kramer vs. Kramer, Chariots of Fire, Forest Gump, and Saving Private Ryan (along with other successes to numerous to name) were all brought into being by the legendary producer Sherry Lansing.
With each hit, Sherry relied on her inner voice, along with her smarts, and inspiration from her mother’s early example of resolve, to make what she envisioned come to fruition. She watched her mother do much of the same when her father died. Sherry's mother provided the example of how to keep going. In an interview with The My Hero Project, Sherry shares some of that story: "I saw her, after the loss of my father, pick herself up and take over my dad's business and as sad as she was, she would not be victimized by his death." Her mother soldiered on, kept the business alive and supported her family. From this example, Sherry always knew that she could do more.
In 2005, she decided to move on to her third act: giving back. So, she resigned from Paramount Pictures in order do more for humanitarian efforts, something that she enjoyed while working as movie executive, but wanted to do more of. She has established the Sherry Lansing Foundation, which is committed to raising awareness and funding for cancer research, and also serves on the board of the Carter Center, a not-for-profit human rights organization founded by former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. Throughout her life, Sherry has taken a lesson that she learned from her mother: always make the best out of what life gives you. Now Sherry is making sure to give back to help others make the best out of their own lives.
Page created on 6/22/2006 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 6/22/2006 12:00:00 AM
The Carter Center
- Founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, The Carter Center is "committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering."
ON THE BOOKS...
Sherry Lansing is also featured in the book, My Hero, as she writes about her hero, Jimmy Carter. For a limited time, you may read her essay on myhero.com.