Mark McKenzie



I’m grateful for the timeless eleven time Academy Award Nominated song writer Diane Warren who introduced me to this brilliant, beautiful and  iconic Hollywood ground breaker Sherry Lansing recently. When Sherry’s doting artistic father died at a young age she spent years thinking she had caused it by being bad. She secretly vowed to always be good from that day forward. She started her LA career as an actress working opposite John Wayne with director Howard Hawks RIO LOBO and then decided she wanted the freedom to act like herself rather than impersonate others. In succession she became a producer (Fatal Attraction), the first female president of 20th Century Fox, the Chairman of Paramount’s movie division releasing 6 of the top 10 highest grossing movies in Paramount history at the point (Titanic and Forest Gump) and now a tireless and very effective philanthropist for cancer research. It is said “She ruled with an iron fist hidden inside the most velvet of gloves.” I said, “Sherry, you worked daily with the biggest, toughest movie stars, agents and film makers in Hollywood and are known for your people skills. Was there a guiding principal? She said, “Yes, I always remembered that EVERYONE is the same on the inside. Every one of us is insecure and fragile inside. When artists anger raged I knew it grew out of a passion for excellence and I didn’t take it personally.” No wonder Sherry was an inspirational leader.  Her biography “Leading Lady” by Stephen Galloway is hard to put down. Thank you Sherry Lansing for helping pave the way for other women and in particular, my oldest daughter Megan McKenzie, an upcoming comedic film maker (see Hippie Happenings). (Photo by the inspirational The Passion of the Christ / Jungle Book / The Greatest Showman composer John Debney)

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