Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Michael Aushenker

Posted on Jan. 24, 2002 at 7:00 pm

ADL Satisfies Medavoyeurs

About 60 people came to West Hollywood's Wyndham Bel Age Hotel for an evening with Mike Medavoy. The Oscar-blessed movie producer and former studio chief -- behind such hits as "Rocky," "Annie Hall," "10," "Platoon," "Philadelphia," "Hoosiers" and "Silence of the Lambs" -- waxed philosophical about the entertainment industry. The Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) "An Evening With Mike Medavoy," in support of Medavoy's book, "You're Only as Good as Your Next One," was moderated by Variety's Write Stuff scribe Jonathan Bing.

Medavoy shared many anecdotes spanning his 38-year career, during which time he formed Orion Pictures in 1978, became the head of Tri-Star in 1990 and founded his present production house, Phoenix Pictures, in 1997.

The former talent agent, who once represented Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, shared memories of how Kirk Douglas launched his producing career by giving him the film rights to "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (Medavoy's first Oscar-winner and still his personal favorite), of the chaotic force majeure production of "Apocalypse Now," of his days as a casting agent on "Dragnet" and how writer-producer-star Jack Webb, who made Medavoy accompany him on his drinking binges, coaxed the future mogul into meeting with Lew Wasserman of Universal. The Universal chief asked Medavoy what he wanted to do, to which Medavoy replied, "'I really want your job.' He looked at me and said, 'You're going to have to wait a lot of years.'"

Medavoy also took the opportunity to refute his reputation of making message films.

"The movies were done because they were good movies," Medavoy said. "Sam Goldwyn was right: 'If you want to send a message, call Western Union.'"

"An Evening With Mike Medavoy" capped off the ADL's third annual Ralph Tornberg Lecture Series 2001-2002 -- a monthly series held over four months.

People of the Book Awards

The Association of Jewish Libraries announced its 2001 Sydney Taylor Book Award winners for outstanding books of Jewish content for children.

"Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind" by Catherine Reef (Clarion) won the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers, while "Rivka's First Thanksgiving" by Elsa Okon Rael and illustrated by Maryann Kovalski (Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster) was the winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers. Rael won previously for "When Zayde Danced on Eldridge Street" (Simon & Schuster, 1997).

Eric Kimmel won Honor Book for Younger Readers for his book, "A Cloak for the Moon," illustrated by Katya Krenina (Holiday House).

For information on the Sydney Taylor Book Award winners, visit www.jewishlibraries.org. The books can be borrowed from Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. Call (323) 761-8644.

Viva Chanukah!

Thirty members of the Hispanic-Jewish Women's Task Force gathered with their families at Alice and Joe Spilberg's home for a multicultural holiday celebration. Guests shared Jewish and Christian holiday traditions: singing songs, enjoying latkes and tamales, and lighting Chanukah candles.

Ahead for Fred

Variety reports that Fred Savage, the lead voice of the Nickelodeon cartoon "Oswald" recently profiled in The Journal, has landed back-to-back roles in George Clooney's directorial debut, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," based on game show host Chuck Barris' pseudo-autobiographical account of his secret life as a CIA operative; and in director Jay Roach's third "Austin Powers" comedy.

Shalom and Yo!

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited AMIT's Gilo while on a recent trip to Israel. AMIT cares for 200 at-risk children.

Land of Milken Honey

Five outstanding Los Angeles-area Jewish educators were presented with 2002 Jewish Educator Awards at a Loews Santa Monica gala that attracted 300 people. The awards, presented by Milken Family Foundation and the Bureau of Jewish Education, included an unrestricted $10,000 award and public recognition for the recipients' work. The five awardees: in Los Angeles, Frida Eytan, Judaic studies teacher at Sinai Akiba Academy ; Carol Goldman, math specialist at Stephen S. Wise Day School ; Vered Hopenstand, Hebrew teacher and program coordinator at Shalhevet School; Rabbi Shmuel Jacobs, Jewish studies teacher at Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn; and in Agoura Hills, Jan Saltsman, lead teacher at Heschel Day School.

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