Tag: George Lucas

George Lucas Gives USC Film School a $10 Million Endowment for Black and Latino Students

George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson (photo via vulture.com)
George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson (photo via vulture.com)

The George Lucas Family Foundation has gifted $10 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts to provide financial support to African-American and Hispanic students.  The money is a part of the foundation’s 2006 pledge to the film school and represents the largest single donation for student support in the school’s history.

Minority students on both the graduate and undergraduate levels will receive priority consideration for financial support, which will also be split evenly between male and female students, who will be known as George Lucas Scholars or Mellody Hobson Scholars.

“Hispanic and African-American storytellers are underrepresented in the entertainment industry,” Lucas said. “It is Mellody’s and my privilege to provide this assistance to qualified students who want to contribute their unique experience and talent to telling their stories.”

The first recipients will be awarded financial support for the fall of 2016.

The announcement came from dean of the USC film school, Elizabeth M. Daley, who said in a statement: “We are so grateful to George and Mellody for their continued support of the School of Cinematic Arts, and in particular for this amazing gift, and their recognition of the need to encourage the Hispanic and African-American storytellers of tomorrow.”

The Lucas Family Foundation’s gift is a part of a greater fundraising campaign at the University of Southern California, which is a multiyear plan to raise $6 billion dollars to continue the university’s various educational efforts.

article by Mia Galuppo via hollywoodreporter.com

Cicely Tyson and Rita Moreno Among 2015 Kennedy Center Honorees

George Lucas Cicely Tyson Rita Moreno
George Lucas, Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno (GETTY IMAGES)

Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno, George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King, conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Eagles have been selected to receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, the center said Wednesday.

The artists will be celebrated Dec. 6 at a gala to be broadcast Dec. 29 on CBS.  President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend along with other notables from the worlds of showbiz, politics and business.

The Honors gala, now in its 38th year, will again cap a weekend of celebrations to include a private dinner at the U.S. State Department the preceding evening hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Honorees receive their colorful medallions at that event. In addition, the Obamas will host honorees and others at the White House prior to the gala performance.

Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein saluted this year’s selections, which were chosen based on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee. Other input is offered by the center’s board of trustees, its artists committee and the public.

Rubenstein praised Tyson for her range of strong female roles on stage and screen that “have broken boundaries for women of color,” and said Moreno’s “iconic spitfire roles” are embedded in the heart of American culture, while Ozawa’s artistic leadership as a conductor has “set a new standard for orchestras around the world.” He

Rubenstein said the music of the Eagles “has endured as the quintessential American rock and roll sound for generations.” The core band members to be feted are Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh.

King, another pop hitmaker, has a canon of “heartfelt lyrics and tunes (that) are woven throughout the tapestry of American music.” Films from Lucas have “enriched our world with stories of epic adventure,” said the KenCen chieftain.

Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter said the latest slate of honorees shares a powerful common theme — artists as history-makers and artists who defy both convention and category. “Each honoree and their career-spanning achievements exemplify a rare quality of artistic bravery,” she said. “They have pushed the limits of their gifts as musicians, actors, and storytellers to inspire generations of Americans and those around the world.”

article by Paul Harris via Variety.com

Academy Award-Winning Actor Forest Whitaker Joins Cast of “Star Wars: Rogue One”

Forest Whitaker Star Wars Rogue One
Actor/Producer Forest Whitaker (GETTY IMAGES)

Forest Whitaker is in negotiations to join the cast of Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” anthology pic “Rogue One.”  The film stars Felicity JonesRiz Ahmed, Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn, with Gareth Edwards directing.  Disney and Lucasfilm had no comment on the casting.

At April’s Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim, Edwards revealed that the plot of “Rogue One” revolves around the heist of the Death Star plans by a group of rebel fighters, with Jones starring as one of the rebel soldiers. Sources say Ahmed and Luna also play Alliance fighters. Whitaker’s role is unknown at this time.

The film will take place between Episode III and Episode IV, but closer chronologically to “A New Hope.” It’s set to bow December 16, 2016.

Whitaker is currently filming Denis Villeneuve sci-fi drama “The Story of Your Life” opposite Amy Adams, and is in negotiations to follow that film with “The Crow” remake in the fall before jumping into production on “Star Wars: Rogue One.”

He’ll next appear in Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama “Southpaw,” a potential Oscar contender bowing later this summer, and is a producer on critically acclaimed Sundance hit “Dope,” which opened Friday.

article by Justin Kroll via Variety.com

Mellody Hobson and George Lucas Welcome Baby Girl

Director George Lucas and Mellody Hobson
Director George Lucas and Mellody Hobson attend the 40th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 16, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Mellody Hobson, 44, and George Lucas, 69,  have welcomed their first child together into the world, according to reports. Their daughter, Everest Hobson Lucas, was born on Friday, August 9, various sources say, and was reportedly carried via a surrogate.  Hobson and Lucas recently married in late June at Lucas’ Skywalker ranch in Marin County, Calif. Hobson, the president of the financial management firm Ariel Investments, had been dating Lucas, one of the most successful producers and directors in Hollywood history, for several years before their nuptials. This is Hobson’s first marriage, and a second for Lucas.

Hobson, an on-air personality who offers financial advice for CBS, is also the chairperson of Dreamworks animation.  Lucas, creator of the Star Wars film franchise, previously made headlines through selling his production company Lucasfilms Ltd. to the Walt Disney company for $4.05 billion in October 2012.  In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Hobson credited her strong bond with Lucas to their both being, “extraordinarily open-minded people” who “are open to what the universe brings us.”

Keeping an open mind allowed each partner to perceive the value in the other.  “We didn’t have preconceived ideas about what a partner should be, and so we allowed ourselves to discover something that was unexpected,” Hobson said.

Everest is Hobson’s first child. Lucas also has three adopted children who are now adults.

article by Alexis Garrett Stodghill via thegrio.com

Professor, Playwright and Actress Anna Deavere Smith Awarded National Humanities Medal by President Obama

President Barack Obama presents a 2012 National Humanities Medal to American actress, playwright, and professor, Anna Deavere Smith during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. Smith is recognized for her portrayal of authentic American voices. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama presents a 2012 National Humanities Medal to American actress, playwright, and professor, Anna Deavere Smith during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. Smith is recognized for her portrayal of authentic American voices. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Describing them as teachers, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that two dozen recipients of national medals for contributions to the arts and humanities have created works that will last for American life.

At a White House ceremony, Obama awarded medals to 23 singers, dancers, poets, producers, playwrights, scholars and others, and one performing arts organization.  As applause and cheers rippled across the stately East Room, Obama joked that the audience was doing so “Because I’ve bought their books, I’ve seen their movies, I buy their records. So we’re major contributors here.”

Turning more serious, he praised the medal recipients for using their talents “To open up minds and nourish souls, and help us understand what it means to be human, and what it means to be an American.”  “We celebrate people like our honorees here today not just because of their talent, but because they create something new. They create a new space and that becomes a lasting contribution to American life,” Obama said.

Among those receiving a National Medal of Arts are Herb Alpert, of Malibu, Calif., the musician behind the Tijuana Brass phenomenon and co-founder of A&M records; filmmaker George Lucas, of San Anselmo, Calif., and the Washington Performing Arts Society, of Washington, D.C.

Recipients of the National Humanities Medal include author Joan Didion, sportswriter Frank Deford and Robert B. Silvers, editor and co-founder of The New York Review of Books. All three are from New York.

Continue reading “Professor, Playwright and Actress Anna Deavere Smith Awarded National Humanities Medal by President Obama”

Mellody Hobson and George Lucas Wed In California

george lucas

Visionary “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas wed Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson before an intimate gathering at Skywalker Ranch, in Marin County, California, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. 

This is the first marriage for Hobson, 44, who wore a white dress by Peter Soronen and changed skirts between the ceremony and the party. Lucas, 69, has been married once before, to film editor Marcia Griffin. They adopted a daughter together, and Lucas adopted two more children after they divorced, in 1983. Lucas’ son, Jett, was his best man, and his daughters, Katie and Amanda, served as bridesmaids.

In addition to serving as president of Ariel Investments, Hobson is chairman of Dreamworks Animation and a financial contributor with CBS.

Continue reading “Mellody Hobson and George Lucas Wed In California”