Jack Valenti Dies at 85

Jack Valenti, a fixture on the media circuit in Washington, D.C., has died at the age of 85.
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Jack Valenti, a fixture on the media circuit in Washington, D.C., has died at the age of 85.

Valenti, a former aid to Lyndon Johnson and longtime advocate for the Hollywood movie community, died Thursday of complications from a stroke. Valenti was a passionate defender of the First Amendment who developed the now ubiquitous movie ratings system. He was also known for being a quintessential gentlemen. Some comments upon his passing:

"From his days in the White House to his efforts on behalf of the movie industry Jack Valenti was also something else: a class act. From my work with him on countless telecommunications matters, Jack was civic-minded, caring, and courteous even when we were in policy disagreement. He will be sorely missed as a friend and the country has lost an American original."--Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

"Jack Valenti was a larger than life figure who brought passion, integrity and wit to every one of his endeavors. 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."--Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

"Working with Jack Valenti in the last 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."--David Rehr, president and CEO of NAB.

"Regardless of whether we were policy friends or foes, Jack treated me with kindness and respect. There was no one in Washington I respected more for his intelligence, his commitment, his integrity and his ability to work across party lines. Jack was one of a kind, and a national icon. He forged a lasting legacy for the entertainment industry that will be sorely missed"--Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge.