Jack Valenti Had a Very Good Excuse for Missing the AFI Dallas International Film Festival

That's Jack Valenti at the far left, peeking over some flowers, aboard Air Force One in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

On Friday, former Motion Picture Association of America bossman and Texas native Jack Valenti was scheduled to speak at the Nasher Sculpture Center, as part of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival. But on March 23, the AFI's Web site said the event was being postponed: "Unfortunately, due to a family emergency," says the site at this very moment, "Jack Valenti will be unable to attend." Nonetheless, the site did say there might be a "possible re-scheduling of Valenti's discussion." That's doubtful, as this morning we find out the real reason for the 85-year-old Valenti's withdrawal: He suffered a stroke last week and remains hospitalized at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore.

Valenti -- who, during his 38 years as the MPAA's president, was a controversial figure to say the very, very least -- has estimable Texas ties: Not only was he born in Houston, where he ran an advertising agency, but he also served as an aide to John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In fact, Valenti was in Dallas on November 22, 1963: He was actually aboard Air Force One, perched behind some flowers, when LBJ was being sworn in as president after Kennedy's assassination. --Robert Wilonsky

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.