Tributes to former Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti continue to flow in the wake of his death Thursday at age 85 , including from one executive frequently on the opposite side of free expression issues.
"Few people could match Jack Valenti for eloquence and personal grace," said former Parents Television Council President Brent Bozell, whose group was highly critical of the Valenti-backed V-chip/TV Ratings system and education effort. "Even in the heat of political discourse, even when in sharp disagreement, Jack was never disagreeable. He will be missed by many, including those of us who were so often – but not always -- on the opposite side, yet treasured his friendship."
David Rehr, the relatively new President of the National Association of Broadcasters, said that working with Valenti over the past year and a half "has been one of the highlights of my 25 years in Washington. Jack's unparalleled advocacy for the motion picture industry was matched only by his innate decency as a person. Broadcasters have lost a First Amendment freedom fighter, and America has lost the most gifted public speaker of his generation. We mourn the passing of this great man."
"Jack Valenti was a larger than life figure who brought passion, integrity and wit to every one of his endeavors," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow. "He was and will remain the gold standard for effective advocacy, whatever the cause. On a personal note, I learned a great deal from him and will miss him greatly. Our industry, indeed our country, has lost a great leader."
Then there was this from Jean Prewitt, president & CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance: “I’ve known Jack for more than 25 years as a colleague, friend and mentor. He was the absolute consummate gentleman who loved every facet of our industry and its people – no matter what their role in the business. We’ll never forget Jack and his legacy. There will never be anyone like him.”