Valenti, Power Broker in Film World, D.C., Dies at 85

Hillary Rosen and Jack Valenti i

Music-industry lobbyist Hillary Rosen and MPAA president Jack Valenti confer at a Capitol Hill press conference in March 2003. The two were vocal leaders in the entertainment industry's anti-digital piracy crusade. Rebecca Roth/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Rebecca Roth/Getty Images
Hillary Rosen and Jack Valenti

Music-industry lobbyist Hillary Rosen and MPAA president Jack Valenti confer at a Capitol Hill press conference in March 2003. The two were vocal leaders in the entertainment industry's anti-digital piracy crusade.

Rebecca Roth/Getty Images
Jack Valenti at Lyndon B. Johnson's swearing-in i

Jack Valenti (far left) looks on as Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in aboard Air Force One on Nov. 22, 1963. LBJ Library Photo by Cecil Stoughton hide caption

itoggle caption LBJ Library Photo by Cecil Stoughton
Jack Valenti at Lyndon B. Johnson's swearing-in

Jack Valenti (far left) looks on as Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in aboard Air Force One on Nov. 22, 1963.

LBJ Library Photo by Cecil Stoughton

Former film-industry lobbyist and presidential adviser Jack Valenti has died, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Valenti, 85, had been hospitalized since a stroke last month.

In nearly four decades as president of the MPAA, Valenti devised the ratings system for films and represented Hollywood's interests in the nation's capital.

In one famous 1982 congressional hearing, Valenti argued that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman home alone." He remained active in shaping public policy on digital piracy and copyright until retiring from the MPAA in 2004.

Before taking the helm at the MPAA, Valenti served as an adviser to Lyndon Johnson, beginning on the fateful day Johnson became president.

Valenti, then a public-relations professional hired to handle the press during President John F. Kennedy's visit to Dallas, was riding in the presidential motorcade Nov. 22, 1963. After Kennedy was assassinated, Valenti was whisked aboard Air Force One for Johnson's famous flight back to Washington; he was drafted as a special assistant to the new president.

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