Hollywood pioneer Sherry Lansing plans to leave her position as chairwoman of Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures at the end of next year when her contract expires, according to a newspaper report.
The Los Angeles Times, citing an unidentified source, reported Tuesday that Lansing will help choose her successor and aid in the transition.
Lansing, a former actress and model, in 1980 became the first female president of production for a Hollywood studio when she gained the position at 20th Century Fox Productions.
She later became a partner with producer Stanley Jaffe in 1983 and they made such films as “Fatal Attraction” and “The Accused.” Jaffe was named president of Paramount Communications and in 1992 he made Lansing studio chief. She was a key player in the Oscar-winning blockbusters “Titanic,” “Braveheart” and “Saving Private Ryan.”
Lansing, 60, has been at the helm during Paramount’s box office slump the past three years.
Her departure when her contract expires on Dec. 31, 2005, would lead to another high-profile Hollywood succession. The Walt Disney Co.’s chief executive, Michael Eisner, has said he will leave when his contract expires in 2006.
Carl Folta, a spokesman for Viacom, which owns Paramount, declined to comment to the Times.
Lansing, who broke into Hollywood in the late 1960s after being a math teacher in Watts, has been a role model in the film industry. She helped pave the way for female studio chiefs, including Columbia Pictures’ Amy Pascal, Universal Pictures Chairwoman Stacey Snider and the late Columbia Pictures head Dawn Steel.
Lansing, who was raised in Chicago, also has developed interests outside of Hollywood. She sits on numerous boards, including the Rand Corp., the American Red Cross and the University of Chicago. She also is a regent of the University of California and an active fund-raiser for the Friends of Cancer Research and for the Carter Center, the human rights organization of former President Carter.