THE PASSING OF MR. JACK VALENTI; Congressional Record Vol. 153, No. 70
(Senate - May 01, 2007)

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[Pages S5433-S5434]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                    THE PASSING OF MR. JACK VALENTI

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I wish to honor my good friend Jack 
Valenti, who, passed away last week on April 26.
  Throughout his life, Jack Valenti wore several hats, including that 
of a soldier, a devoted public servant, and a pioneer in the film 
industry.
  Jack was born on September 5, 1921, in Houston, TX and was the 
grandson of Sicilian immigrants. At age 15, he became the youngest high 
school graduate in the history of the city of Houston and began a 
career as an office boy with Exxon Oil.
  Jack served honorably in the Army Air Corps during World War II, 
flying in 51 separate combat missions as pilot of the B-25 attack 
bomber with the 12th Air Force in Italy. He obtained the rank of 
lieutenant and received multiple decorations, including the 
Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four clusters, the 
Distinguished Unit Citation with one cluster, and the European Theater 
Ribbon with four battle stars.
  After serving in the war, Jack attended college at the University of 
Houston, doing all his undergraduate work at night as he worked during 
the day. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1946 and later became 
the University of Houston's first graduate ever to be admitted to 
Harvard Business School. He received an MBA from Harvard in 1948.
  In the intervening years, Jack held many positions in this town, but 
in 1966 Jack resigned from a top position in the White House to become 
only the third president of the Motion Picture Association of America, 
MPAA. He held this, his most famous position, for 38 years before 
retiring in 2004.
  As president of MPAA, Jack arbitrated one of the most famous 
developments the film industry has ever come out with--the voluntary 
rating system. The ratings ``G,'' ``PG,'' ``PG-13'' and ``R'' have 
become staples, not only in the movie-going practices of every American 
but also in our Nation's cultural consciousness. However, more 
important than the societal notions and the cliched images associated 
with these ratings is the real assistance that this system has provided 
to parents and families in evaluating the appropriateness of various 
movies. Indeed, the MPAA rating system pioneered by Jack Valenti has 
become a prime example of the effectiveness of industry self-regulation 
without government intervention, and I am very grateful for Jack's work 
in this area even when many in his industry fought him along the way.
  In addition to pioneering the rating system, Jack Valenti also worked 
to advance the film industry into the 21st century. Indeed, during his 
tenure at the MPAA, he presided over unprecedented changes in the 
worldwide film industry, including the advancement of the digital era. 
I remember having several conversations with Jack as the film industry 
struggled to deal with the new challenges presented by digital 
distribution of their content. Together, Jack and I worked tirelessly 
to balance the competing demands of consumer's rights and the 
protection of one of America's largest exports--entertainment.
  With Jack's help, we were able to refocus the Federal Government's 
resources to more effectively protect the creative genius of a great 
American industry--the film industry. We all know how blatantly some 
bad actors around the world pirate America's movies and rob the United 
States of jobs. Thanks to Jack's efforts, we have made great strides in 
this area and laid the groundwork to allow us to stamp out this 
criminal activity in the years ahead. Combating the theft and piracy of 
intellectual property was a real passion for Jack, and I was privileged 
to work with him in this endeavor.
  Mr. President, those of us who knew Jack Valenti personally will 
always remember him as a charitable man who was devoted to his family. 
While his influence on the film industry has been famous and 
unmistakable, many of us will remember him more for the personal 
friendship we shared with him. I will miss him greatly.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution 
be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be 
laid upon the table, and that any statements relating to the resolution 
be printed in the Record.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The resolution (S. Res. 182) was agreed to.
  The preamble was agreed to.
  The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

                              S. Res. 182

       Whereas Jack Valenti was born September 5, 1921, in 
     Houston, Texas, the grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Joe and 
     Josephine Valenti, and was the youngest high school graduate 
     in the city at age 15;
       Whereas Jack Valenti married his beloved Mary Margaret in 
     1962, with whom he had 3 children, John, Alexandra, and 
     Courtenay;
       Whereas Jack Valenti joined the United States Army Air 
     Forces in 1942 and flew 51 combat missions as a pilot of a B-
     25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force in Italy during 
     World War II, obtained the rank of lieutenant, and received 4 
     decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the 
     Air Medal with 4 clusters, the Distinguished Unit Citation 
     with one cluster, and the European Theater Ribbon with 4 
     battle stars;
       Whereas Jack Valenti received a B.A. degree from the 
     University of Houston in 1946 after doing all of his 
     undergraduate work at night and working during the day, and 
     became the first University of Houston graduate to be 
     admitted to Harvard Business School, receiving an M.B.A. 
     degree in 1948;
       Whereas, in 1952, Jack Valenti cofounded Weekley and 
     Valenti, an advertising and political consulting agency that 
     worked on Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential campaign in 
     Texas, Representative Albert Thomas's run for Congress, and 
     John Connally's campaign for Governor of Texas;
       Whereas Jack Valenti met then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon 
     B. Johnson in 1957, the two became close friends, and Valenti 
     worked on Lyndon Johnson's presidential campaign during the 
     primaries of 1960;
       Whereas Weekley and Valenti handled press during President 
     John F. Kennedy's and Vice President Lyndon Johnson's fateful 
     trip to Dallas, Texas, in November 1963;
       Whereas Jack Valenti became the first special assistant 
     hired when Lyndon Johnson ascended to the Presidency;
       Whereas Jack Valenti resigned his White House post in 1966 
     and went on to serve as the president of the Motion Picture 
     Association of America (MPAA) for the next 38 years;
       Whereas Jack Valenti, as president of the MPAA, created the 
     voluntary film rating system that is still in place today, 
     which provides parents with advance information they can use 
     to determine which movies are appropriate for their children;
       Whereas Jack Valenti's persona and skill combined to give 
     the motion picture industry a strong and enduring presence in 
     the Nation's capital, which grew year by year during his 
     nearly 4 decade tenure at the MPAA;
       Whereas Jack Valenti presided over a worldwide change in 
     the motion picture industry, ushered movies into the digital 
     era, championed artists' rights, and condemned intellectual 
     property theft;
       Whereas Jack Valenti authored 5 books, including ``A Very 
     Human President'', ``Protect and Defend'', ``The Bitter Taste 
     Of Glory'', ``Speak Up With Confidence'', and, his most 
     recent, ``This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White 
     House, and Hollywood'', and wrote numerous essays for the New 
     York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, 
     Reader's Digest, Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, Cox newspapers, 
     and other publications;
       Whereas Jack Valenti was awarded with France's highly-
     prized Legion d'Honneur, the

[[Page S5434]]

     French Legion of Honor, and has been honored with his own 
     star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; and
       Whereas Jack Valenti will be remembered as a dedicated 
     family man, a philanthropist, a voice for copyright owners, a 
     true visionary whose devotion, intelligence, creativity, and 
     wisdom transformed the film industry, and as Hollywood's 
     ultimate leading man: Now, therefore, be it
         Resolved That the Senate honors the life of Jack Valenti, 
     a pioneer in the fields of motion pictures and public 
     service, a dedicated family man, and a legendary figure in 
     the history of the United States.

                          ____________________