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Sherry Lansing

Lansing, as the head of 20th Century Fox during the 1980s, was the first woman to reach the top of Hollywood's corporate ladder. She grew up in Chicago and studied math, English and theater at Northwestern University. After her graduation in 1966, she moved to Los Angeles to start an acting career. She later first worked as a script reader, then as a story editor for MGM studios. By the late 1970s Lansing had worked her way up to vice president at MGM, and in 1977 she jumped to Columbia Pictures to become the vice president in charge of production. From there she moved to the top at 20th Century Fox (1980). Lansing left the studio in 1983 and for a dozen years worked in partnership with Stanley Jaffe. She later joined Paramount's Motion Picture Group as chairman in 1992. Lansing left the movie business in 2005 and began the Sherry Lansing Foundation, a non-profit center for cancer research. She was awarded a special Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in 2007.