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Amy Pascal

Amy Pascal

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: executive, producer's assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

That a woman became president of production at a studio was no longer a banner headline, but by the late twentieth century, Amy Pascal, who was appointed president of Columbia Pictures in December 1996, was still a member of a very select club. Known to be popular with screenwriters and passionate in her advocacy for films, she followed the classic Hollywood rise first trademarked by Irving Thalberg more than 70 years ago - going from secretary to head of production at a studio. Moving up the ladder to chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Pascal was among the ranks of just a handful of women who had raised the bar for females in positions of power in Hollywood. She did so by overseeing such feature film hits as "Hitch," (2004) "The Da Vinci Code," (2006) and the mammoth success of the "Spider-Man" multi-million dollar franchise - in the process, becoming one of the most respected studio heads, male or female, in the business.Born in 1958, Pascal grew up in Los Angeles, CA, the daughter of an economist and a book shop owner. Pascal loved movies in her youth, later naming "Harold & Maude" (1971), "Shampoo" (1975) and "Being There" (1979) as her lifetime favorites. After earning a degree in...

That a woman became president of production at a studio was no longer a banner headline, but by the late twentieth century, Amy Pascal, who was appointed president of Columbia Pictures in December 1996, was still a member of a very select club. Known to be popular with screenwriters and passionate in her advocacy for films, she followed the classic Hollywood rise first trademarked by Irving Thalberg more than 70 years ago - going from secretary to head of production at a studio. Moving up the ladder to chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Pascal was among the ranks of just a handful of women who had raised the bar for females in positions of power in Hollywood. She did so by overseeing such feature film hits as "Hitch," (2004) "The Da Vinci Code," (2006) and the mammoth success of the "Spider-Man" multi-million dollar franchise - in the process, becoming one of the most respected studio heads, male or female, in the business.

Born in 1958, Pascal grew up in Los Angeles, CA, the daughter of an economist and a book shop owner. Pascal loved movies in her youth, later naming "Harold & Maude" (1971), "Shampoo" (1975) and "Being There" (1979) as her lifetime favorites. After earning a degree in International Relations at UCLA, Pascal landed her first Hollywood job as an assistant for producer Tony Garnett at Kestral Films, a production company specializing in independent movies, affiliated with Warner Bros. Proving that her capabilities extended far beyond answering phones and making photocopies, Pascal was invited to sit in on meetings with writers and directors, providing valuable input. Working her way up the ranks, she next worked as an executive for Twentieth Century Fox. Working under producer Scott Rudin, she developed such films as Cameron Crowe's "Say Anything" (1989) and was moved up to Vice President of Production in 1986.

The following year, Pascal moved over to Columbia Pictures, from 1987 to 1994, where Dawn Steel tapped her for the post of vice president of production. During her tenure at Columbia, she shepherded Penny Marshall' "Awakenings" (1990) into production at a time when management changes had chipped away at Steel's leverage. It was on Pascal's watch that the studio released such modern day classic films as "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "City Slickers" (1991) and "A League of Their Own" (1992). Pascal left Columbia to become President of Turner Pictures for two years, overseeing such productions as the disappointing John Travolta vehicle, "Michael" (1996). In 1996, she returned to Columbia - by this time, also known as Sony Pictures - and was named president. Within four years, the impressive executive had ascended to chairman of the studio.

During her tenure at both studios, Pascal had often been identified with female-oriented "chick flicks," much to her consternation. Greenlighting 2004's "Little Black Book," "13 Going on 30" and "50 First Dates" did little to correct that perception. But in contrast to that standard line-up of romantic comedies, she was also behind the enormously successful "Spider-Man" series, which began in 2002 and with two films, grossed over $2 billion and counting. Other blockbuster franchises included "Men & Black," (1997) "Stuart Little," (1999) and "Charlie's Angels" (2000), along with their respective sequels. Under Pascal's management, comic actor Adam Sandler also proved viable, generating millions for the studio with such films as "Big Daddy" (1999) and "Mr. Deeds" (2002). At the same time, the studio released critically acclaimed films such as "Adaptation" (2002). However, Pascal also drew criticism for such big budget under-performers as "Spanglish," (2004) as well as "Stealth" and "Bewitched" (2005), proving no matter how successful, everyone was only as good as their last picture.

With the establishment of Sony Pictures Animation, Pascal's Sony also became a viable player in the animation medium, a genre previously dominated by the Walt Disney Company, Pixar and Dreamworks. The first major film released from the division was "Monster House" in 2006 - a film that underperformed at the box office, but thrilled critics and the fans who did go to see it. Hitting a home run that summer, her studio also released the comedy hits "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" and "RV," as well as the controversial Ron Howard-helmed film, "The Da Vinci Code."

Throughout her career, Pascal maintained a high profile with her mantle as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. She was the winner of the 2001 Women in Film Crystal Award, amongst many others. In addition to the long hours and stress of running a studio, Pascal continued to serve on the Board of Trustees for the American Film Institute, as well as the Executive Board of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Stars In Shorts (2012)
2.
 Intimate Portrait: Jennifer Lopez (2002) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as assistant to producer Tony Garnett in the 1980s
:
Joined in partnership with Garnett in Kestral Films
1986:
Worked as vice president of production at Fox
1987:
Became vice president, production at Columbia
1989:
Promoted to executive vice president, production at Columbia
1994:
Named president of production at Turner Pictures
1996:
Returned to Columbia as president of Columbia Pictures
1998:
Given added responsibilities when TriStar was merged into Columbia
1999:
Promoted to chair of Columbia pictures (December)
2003:
Served as Chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group
2006:
Named Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of California, Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

"I still have a lot to learn about being a studio executive. Eventually I'm going to make movies. I'm going to make movies no matter which way I go." --Amy Pascal in PREMIERE, May 1990.

"Amy is like an artist who's working as an executive. She doesn't have the gift of technique, but she has the vision." --Screenwriter Robin Swicord in MOVIELINE, April 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Benard Weinraub. Journalist. Second husband; works for THE NEW YORK TIMES; married on August 9, 1997.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
bookstore owner.
father:
economist.

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