Jack Valenti’s life, which came to an end last Thursday, lasted 85 years, but the imprint he left on American society is destined to stretch well beyond that.
Valenti flew 51 combat missions as pilot of a B-25 attack bomber during World War II but was immortalized on a very different plane – in November 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
That’s Valenti, to the far left of newly sworn in President Lyndon Johnson, hours after JFK was assassinated. Moments before, he had been hired as a special assistant to Johnson, a fellow Texan.
In a latter career as president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Valenti helped usher in the ubiquitous rating system still used today.
And as his career with the MPAA neared an end, he vociferously urged legislators to act on web-based movie piracy – cleaning up web commerce and helping to clear the way for music and motion picture downloads seemingly everyone enjoys today.