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Former MPAA Chief Valenti Dies

26 Apr, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Former longtime CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Jack Valenti has died at the age of 85, according to an organization statement.

The cause of death was not disclosed for Valenti, who reportedly suffered a stroke earlier this year. He retired in 2004 after 38 years at the helm of the MPAA.

Born in Houston and a former assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, Valenti was instrumental in developing the current movie rating system as well campaigning globally against piracy of Hollywood movies.

“Jack Valenti was a giant who loomed large over two of the largest stages — Washington and Hollywood,” said Valenti's successor at MPAA, chairman and CEO Dan Glickman. “He was a patriot who loved and served his country, and he was a passionate champion of American cinema and artistic freedom. He was truly a model for us all.”

Bo Andersen, president of the Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly VSDA), said Valenti became a huge crusader for home entertainment after initially arguing against its perceived theatrical threat.

“Although home video retailers are one of the few groups that can claim they beat Jack Valenti in a legislative fight, he carried no animus,” said Andersen. “He relished the industry that video retailers built. Ultimately, Jack was one of the biggest protectors of the home video market.”

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