TopVet: Jack Valenti, Motion Picture Association

Jack Valenti

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to the Motion Picture Association of America and widely recognized as one of Hollywood’s true leaders, Jack Valenti has led four-star careers as a wartime bomber pilot, ad agency founder, political consultant and White House Special Assistant.

Mr. Valenti’s rise began early, graduating from high school at age 15 in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He then served as a young pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II, flying 51 combat missions as the commander of a B-25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force in Italy. Lieutenant Valenti was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four clusters, the Distinguished Unit Citation with one cluster and the European Theater Ribbon with four battle stars. After the war, he earned his BA from the University of Houston and his MBA from Harvard.

In 1952, he co-founded the advertising and political consulting agency, Weekley & Valenti. Within one hour after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Mr.Valenti flew on Air Force One back to Washington as the first Special Assistant to the new President, Lyndon Johnson. On June 1, 1966, he resigned his White House post to become the third leader of the MPAA.

A frequent public speaker and an outspoken advocate in defense of creative freedom, Mr. Valenti is the author of four books: The Bitter Taste of Glory, A Very Human President, Speak Up with Confidence, and Protect and Defend.

He also contributes numerous articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, and other publications.

Mr. Valenti has received numerous awards civic and governmental awards for his work, including his own most cherished, France’s coveted Legion d’ Honneur, the French Legion of Honor.

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