Women Who Run the Show

How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood, 1973-2000

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Women Who Run the Show

In the 1970s, you could count the women who produced film or television on one hand. By the 1990s, there were hundreds. What happened? That’s the dramatic, firsthand story in Women Who Run the Show. Based on more than 125 interviews with women in virtually every segment of the entertainment business-from feature films to television, from corporate offices and new media to the back lot-Women Who Run the Show is the unfiltered account of women’s lives in the Hollywood workplace from the 1970s (“No one wanted us there”) to 2000. How did they make it in one of the toughest industries around. The women include:

-Gale Ann Hurd, Producer of The Terminator and Aliens
-Mimi Leder, director of ER and The Peacemaker
-Kathleen Nolan, the first female president of the Screen Actors Guild
-Jane Alexander, actress, producer, and head of the National Endowment for the Arts
-Polly Plat, producer of Broadcast News
-Martha Coolidge, director of Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and the first female president of the Directors Guild
-Sherry Lansing, chairman of the Motion Picture Group, Paramount Pictures

The women came from rich families and poor, from all over the U.S. and from other countries. They talk about a wide range of subjects, including the cost of success, sexual harassment, the “boy’s club,” their three roles-wife, mother, worker,-or of the children they did not have (“I woke up one day and I was fifty”), mentors, how their parents influenced them, the joys of work, and learning on the job. They reveal the truths they’ve learned about careers, life, and women’s increasingly influential place in the business of entertainment.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Documentary film producer and director Gregory interviews over 100 powerful women who’ve made their mark in film in this hefty book. She organizes it by decade; thus, the 1970s chapter is called “Beachhead,” the ’80s is “Securing the Perimeter” and the ’90s is “Breakthrough.” She investigates the barriers women like The Sting producer Julia Phillips came up against and lauds the accomplishments of Mimi Leder, who directed The Peacemaker. Dense and very thorough, Gregory’s work will be important to those in the fields of film studies and women’s studies. Photos. 
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


“Women were subsidiary characters, the second story line.” ―Marcia Nasatir, producer

“At film school, all the boys were going to be directors and I was supposed to be Hedda Hopper.” ―Diana Gould, screenwriter

“Women competed with each other…If the pie is small, who is going to get the pie.” ―Anthea Sylbert, producer

“Everybody wanted to have one woman.” ―Joan Hyler, agent

“If I’d been a guy…I could have accomplished a lot more.” ―Loreen Arbus, producer

“No one told me that because I was a woman I couldn’t do something. I just went out and fought for myself.” ―Debra Hill, producer

About the Author

Mollie Gregory has been a writer and producer of documentary films and has written a variety of novels and nonfiction books, including Making Films Your Business. She is a member of the Writers Guild of America and a past president of both P.E.N. Center USA West and Women in Film. She lives in Los Angeles.

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