HOLLYWOOD, CA (10 January, 2014) – The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation announced Hollywood film veteran Tom Sherak as the 2014 Pioneer of the Year honoree. The award dinner will take place on March 26th at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
Thomas M. Sherak, whose remarkable career has seen him at the pinnacle of motion picture marketing, distribution and production, was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is currently Mayor Eric Garcetti’s LA Film Czar, in addition to consulting for Skydance Productions, One Three Media, and other entertainment entities. In April 2014, he will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Previously, Sherak was a partner at Revolution Studios which released more than forty seven films, including America’s Sweethearts, Black Hawk Down, XXX, Anger Management, 13 Going On 30, and Across the Universe. Sherak also consulted for Marvel Studios on films such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor.
Prior to joining Revolution Studios, Sherak was Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Domestic Film Group. In addition, Sherak served as Senior Executive Vice President of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Previously, he was President of Domestic Distribution and Marketing for Twentieth Century Fox.
In that position, he supervised the company’s domestic distribution, advertising/publicity/promotion operations and the non-theatrical film division. Sherak has overseen the marketing and distribution of such films as Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, Romancing the Stone, Wall Street, Die Hard, Working Girl, Home Alone, Edward Scissorhands, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Mrs. Doubtfire, True Lies, Speed, Independence Day, and Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace. Sherak joined Fox from General Cinema, where he was Vice President and head film buyer. Sherak began his career in the film industry at Paramount Pictures in 1970 where he worked in the New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis distribution offices.
He was an active board member of the Southern California Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and chaired the MS Dinner of Champions for over 20 years, raising over 47 million dollars for multiple sclerosis research and programs. He is currently the Chairman of the MS Hope Foundation, which he recently helped form, as well as an active board member of the Fulfillment Fund of Southern California, a college access organization helping inter–city youth in Los Angeles. He is a former Chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and formerly on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture and Television Fund as well as the Southern California Variety – the Children’s Charity. Sherak has also previously served as Treasurer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He and his wife, Madeleine, received the 2010 Visionary Honor from the Lighthouse International Board of Directors for their philanthropic work. The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation recently gave Sherak the 2011 Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award. In April 2011, the American Academy of Neurology honored Sherak with the Public Leadership in Neurology Award for his efforts in raising funds and public awareness on behalf of patients with multiple sclerosis and their families. He also serves on the advisory board of Vision To Learn.
Sherak received an honorary doctorate in the arts from the Academy of Art University in May 2010 and holds a degree in Marketing from New York City Community College and served on the faculty in the UCLA Producers Program. Along with his consulting, Sherak was also one of the producers of the Broadway stage play Relatively Speaking, which opened in October 2011.
“We could not be more thrilled to present this year’s Pioneer award to the estimable Tom Sherak, whose roots to this industry and this charity are deep and unbreakable,” said Chris Aronson, president of WRMPPF and president of Domestic Theatrical Distribution for 20th Century Fox Film. “And we are grateful that Tom, who is well known for his fundraising abilities on the behalf of others, accepted this honor and will help raise proceeds for the Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund. Tom exemplifies all that makes this industry such an influential cultural force, someone who supports the creative crafts and the business demands alongside his intense drive for charitable outreach. We look forward to celebrating this evening at CinemaCon 2014.”
The Pioneer of the Year dinner, an industry tradition for 70 years, honors leaders of the motion picture industry and within the philanthropic community. Past honorees include Cecil B. DeMille, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, Frank G. Mancuso, Jack Valenti, Terry Semel, Sumner Redstone, Sherry Lansing, Alan Horn, Jeff Blake, Mike Campbell, Dick Cook, Jeffrey Katzenberg and last year’s honoree, Kathleen Kennedy. Proceeds from the event go to the Pioneers Assistance Fund, an industry charity that helps movie industry veterans who are encountering an illness, injury or life–changing event.
“The Pioneer of the Year Dinner has become one of our key events at CinemaCon and knowing that NATO and its members are there to support this great organization makes this annual event so meaningful to us all,” said David Passman, Chairman of the National Association of Theater Owners. “And with Tom Sherak, we are doubly proud to honor someone who is truly one of our own and a pioneer in the motion picture industry.”
The Pioneers Assistance Fund is operated by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. For more information about the Pioneer of the Year Dinner or the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, please call (888) 994-3863 or visit www.wrpioneers.org.
Named after one of the greatest humanitarians, philanthropists and entertainers – Will Rogers – the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation perpetuates his legacy through the works of two programs, the Will Rogers Institute and the Pioneers Assistance Fund.
A hospital created for Vaudevillians stricken with tuberculosis, the National Vaudeville Association Hospital was renamed the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital in 1936, as a tribute to Will Rogers. The hospital became a national training facility for doctors treating patients with tuberculosis, becoming known as the Will Rogers Institute. In 2002, the Will Rogers charity merged with the Foundation of Motion Picture Pioneers (FMPP) and became the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. Today, WRMPPF operates two distinct programs, under the names Will Rogers Institute and the Pioneers Assistance Fund.
The Pioneers Assistance Fund continues the mission of FMPP by helping individuals from the motion picture community who are encountering an illness, injury or life-changing event. Social workers provide confidential consultations and financial assistance on a short-term or long-term basis, in order to help a person get back to a normal life or continue living with dignity.
Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation