You may not know her name but you definitely know her films! In 1974 Marcia Nasatir made history by becoming the first female Vice President of Production at United Artists. Marcia championed films that have become American classics — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky, Carrie, Coming Home, Apocalypse Now and The Big Chill.
A Classy Broad – Marcia’s Adventures in Hollywood tells the story of how this Jewish girl from San Antonio, Texas shattered Hollywood’s glass ceiling by trailblazing, fighting and outwitting her detractors all the way to the top.
L’CHAIM spoke with Ms. Nasatir by phone the day after the solar eclipse in August and she was still awestruck by the wonder of seeing it from her Brentwood terrace. “We live in a world and don’t think about the sun and the moon traveling around,” she said of the event.
L’CHAIM Magazine: What was your favorite thing to do, growing up?
Marcia Nasatir: I read books all the time. The only thing I know is how to read. Books are the key to my life.
L’CHAIM : How did you take your love of reading books and turn that into making movies?
MN: I went to New York and worked in an ad agency. I wasn’t going to be a copywriter (which is what most women did in those days). I had a friend at Dell [Publishers] and got hired there. I worked for a literary agent and represented very good writers and directors. I became involved with the studios. We did tie-in ads with the movie. My expertise was “read the book, see the movie.”
L’CHAIM: What was your goal at United Artists?
MN: To find the next great book to become a movie!
L’CHAIM: Can you sum up your philosophy about work?
MN: What can you offer? What do you know how to do that someone wants to pay you to do?
L’CHAIM: How did your Jewishness play into your career?
MN: Actually, my director, who is French, and not Jewish, decided the fact that my Jewishness made the story. I was a brought up in Texas. My parents were from Russia [and were] secular Jews. We were four children. We were taught survival and that as women we could do whatever we wanted. It comes from the house, the family you are in.
The 28th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival Kickoff event (Underwriters Only) will take place on Sunday, September 17 at 5 p.m. with Marcia Nasatir as honored guest. Visit www.sdcjc.org for more information.