Film and TV

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.

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

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky