Hollywood history: A special archive showcases pioneering women


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With women shattering some of the last remaining glass ceilings in Hollywood -- take Kathryn Bigelow’s best director Oscar last March, for example -- it’s interesting to look back at those who paved the way. Women in Film’s Legacy Series, housed at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, is a unique interview- recording project aimed at preserving the stories of influential women in Hollywood.

Since the project was launched in 1988, 32 women have participated in the series, including Oscar-nominated actress Piper Laurie of ‘The Hustler’ and ‘Carrie’ fame. The 78-year-old recounted some of her memorable moments for this week’s Classic Hollywood column, but more of her story is available through the Legacy Series.


Besides Laurie, other subjects have included screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan (‘Mask’); actress/producer/director Debbie Allen; Oscar-winning editor Anne V. Coates (‘Lawrence of Arabia’); Fay Wray of ‘King Kong’; and actress Gloria Stuart, who died this week at age 100.

Producer Ilene Kahn Power has been the chair of the series for the last decade. ‘When I came on board, the material wasn’t accessible,’ she said. ‘So I thought to myself, ‘We have to have these wonderful interviews somewhere.’’ That’s how the UCLA Film and Television Archive got involved in 2004. Panavision loans crews, and the subjects are filmed on the Panavision stage over two days. ‘We make little documentaries,’ Power said.

The interviews are available for public viewing at UCLA by appointment. For more information, click here.

-- Susan King