Top French honour for Hollywood lobbyist

7th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 7 (AFP) - The recently retired chairman of the influential Motion Picture Association of America, 83-year-old Jack Valenti, has been awarded France's top distinction, the Legion of Honour.

PARIS, Sept 7 (AFP) - The recently retired chairman of the influential Motion Picture Association of America, 83-year-old Jack Valenti, has been awarded France's top distinction, the Legion of Honour.  

French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres decorated Valenti late Monday with the honour in a ceremony attended by US Ambassador Howard Leach and film legend Olivia de Havilland.   "

The common thread in your work is the essential value on which the United States was founded with France's help: liberty," said the French minister, who also praised Valenti's role in the fight against film piracy.  

"Piracy is not an American problem or a French problem, it's a global problem," noted Valenti, who retired in July after 38 years as the man tasked with defending the interests of Hollywood's giant movie studios.  

During his tenure as MPAA chairman, Valenti broke historic ground on the issues of copyright protection and anti-piracy laws, and helped establish a new ratings system for US films.  

He first rose to prominence in November 1963 when he became a witness to the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.  

As the head of a political consultancy and advertising agency in Houston, Valenti had been hired to handle publicity for the electoral campaign trip by Kennedy and vice president Lyndon B. Johnson to Texas.  

After Kennedy was shot, he accompanied the new president Johnson and Kennedy's body back to Washington aboard Air Force One after Johnson asked him to join his administration as a special assistant at the White House.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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