Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker

Stephen Galloway. Crown Archetype, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-0-307-40593-7
Galloway, executive features editor for the Hollywood Reporter, provides a fascinating look at Sherry Lansing, whose appointment as head of 20th Century Fox in 1980 made her the first female president of a major Hollywood studio. He follows Lansing from her Chicago childhood, explaining how her father’s death and mother’s resourcefulness influenced her strengths and insecurities. A gawky teenager, she gained from moviegoing a desire to “reinvent herself” and as a young woman moved to California to follow her acting dreams. Although this first career didn’t last long, she found a mentor in producer Ray Wagner, who hired her as a script reader, a move that transformed her life. Galloway captures the personal drive that allowed Lansing to forge a path through sexist Hollywood and shepherd films such as Kramer vs. Kramer, Forrest Gump, and Saving Private Ryan past creative obstacles to eventual success. He also shows how she personally left her mark on many films, such as by helping to craft Fatal Attraction’s revised, crowd-pleasing finale. As the book concludes, having worked her way up the corporate ladder, Lansing realized she wanted more out of life, and by 2005 left Hollywood behind to start a cancer research foundation. Galloway has created a colorful page-turner chronicling Lansing’s legacy as both a filmmaker and a philanthropist. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 04/25/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-307-45171-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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