Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Review of "Leading Lady"

Stephen Galloway's Leading Lady:  Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker is 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 draws to a close, Galloway describes how 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.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

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