Our Burbank High Class of 1968 classmate, Laura Ziskin, is in the news again, even though she died in June 2011. My sister saw an article in the Los Angeles Times on the opening of the movie, The Butler, which apparently would not have come to life had it not been for Laura. The movie details the life of Eric Gaines, a butler who served in the White House under eight Presidents, and revisits major events such as the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war. Starring are Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and John Cusack. it seems especially timely in the current national dialogue on race relations and the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin verdict.

Laura Ziskin 1950-2011

Laura Ziskin 1950-2011

Read the entire story in the Times by clicking here. Laura left money in her will to bankroll the $30 million project, which came to her attention before she died of breast cancer. Look closely at the poster and you’ll see that Laura Ziskin Productions are listed in the credits.If you recall, Laura was also the producer of Pretty Woman, and the Spider-Man movies.

I hope to catch The Butler soon, which is now playing in movie theaters nationwide.

About Katherine Crosier

I am an organist in Honolulu—a rare breed of folks who play the King of Instruments! Through stories, photos, and videos, this blog is a diary of my musical journey ... and my family just groans!

5 responses »

  1. Katherine Crosier says:

    This message from Alan Landros ’70

    Hi Kathy,

    Not sure if you are aware that a “boycott” of this movie has begun due to the fact that Jane Fonda has been cast and plays Nancy Reagan in the movie, which some think is a disgrace for Nancy Reagan. I had been interested in what I’d heard about the upcoming movie. Then today I saw this boycott info on FB, and until then I hadn’t heard that Jane Fonda was even in the movie. This is all in reference to ‘Hanoi Jane’ from the 1960’s Viet Nam visit.

    BTW, the character, “Eric Gaines” is based on an actual White House butler who was there from 1952/53 with Truman/Eisenhower for the next 34 years until he retired in 1986 with Reagan, eight Presidents.

    Alan Landros

  2. bozo1111 says:

    Just saw The Butler last night, I was surprised to see that Laura was the producer. Quite sure there will be academy award nominations/winners from this movie.
    It was sure a trip down memory lane, brought up a lot of ugly history and sadness.
    Glad to know that Laura donated that money to finish the project, important movie.

  3. Katherine Crosier says:

    Check out Cathy Palmer’s blog on Burbank High School, which has more links about Laura Ziskin and “The Butler.”


  4. Saw “The Butler” today, and it is an awesome movie. As a Vietnam veteran, Jane Fonda being in the picture, and a FB boycott; folks, get over it. She was wrong, we know she was (even if she doesn’t) and just how is holding onto that grudge working for you? Good movie; see it.

  5. […] her before — if you click these links:  “A celebrity in our class” and “Speaking from the grave“, you’ll read all about her star-studded productions of the Academy Awards (2002 and […]

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