PROFILE Civic Leader Is Catalyst for Southland Arts


Tenacious is one word for Wendy Goldberg. Dedicated, vivacious, dynamic and considerate will do, too. She’s a catalyst. She’s a doer able to juggle the world and still speak sotto voce.

Professionally, she is a principal consultant to the Max Factor Advisory Board. From her fourth floor office in West Los Angeles, she has a spectacular view of city hills.

She’s in the office full time every day (“I started three days and worked up to five”) and in love with marketing Max Factor products after failing in her own Chris Evert cosmetics line. She’s also active in husband Leonard Goldberg’s production company. He’s the former president and chief operating officer of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., and one of the major producers in Hollywood.


And, she’s working on the development of a Broadway musical.

With that, plus two college-age sons and a teen-age daughter--"I’m a hands-on mother absolutely,” she said--wouldn’t life be full?

Not for Wendy Goldberg. Enriching Los Angeles is her bailiwick. “I try to be a hands-on volunteer.” She was a founding member of the Filmex Society and served as president. She’s involved with the Los Angeles Music Center where she helped establish the Entertainment Council in 1984. She’s a long-time Los Angeles County Museum of Art patron. She’s executive vice president of Cedars Sinai Women’s Guild. She’s a member of SHARE, the entertainment industry group that kicks up its heels in stage antics at its annual Boomtown benefit for disabled youth.

But, her love this month is the California State Summer School for the Arts which will benefit from the Governor’s Awards for the Arts Gala on Thursday at the Beverly Hilton.

Five years ago Goldberg founded the summer school after being appointed to the California Arts Council by then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. She’s president of the CSSSA Foundation, and she talks nonstop about it. “I’m a great collaborator,” she said, beginning to reel off a list of everyone who is helping on the current fund-raiser, including gala co-chairman Susan Dolgen (whose husband is new president of Columbia Pictures); Anne Johnson, coordinating chair of the benefit, and Joan Newberg, executive director of the foundation.

Funds raised, both private and public, will provide scholarships for about half of the 400 talented youngsters who will attend the annual four-week summer school session in film and video, dance, drama, music, visual arts and creative writing. Full cost for a student is $2,300. “They eat-sleep their specialty,” said Goldberg.

Summer school sessions have been held at CalArts twice, at Loyola Marymount once and at Mills College twice. Annually, a search is conducted throughout the state and 400,000 students are informed through brochures, videos and library posters.

“It’s a real process to educate the public . . . and raising money for the arts is very difficult, particularly this year, an election year,” Goldberg said. “But I think (education) is preventive medicine; I’m passionate about education.”

Wendy Goldberg is so excited about talent at the summer schoolthat she and Susan Dolgen have asked Sacramento jazz singer Anita Jones, 19, a former summer school participant, to perform at the gala where Gov. and Mrs. George Deukmejian will be honoring arts leaders such as Lillian (Mrs. Walt) Disney, Frank Gehry and Sam Francis.

“A star will be born,” Wendy predicted. “We think she’s so special. We’re agenting her--aren’t we, Susan?” she said only half in jest.

“And, also, please say we want this gala to become the Kennedy Center Honors of the West Coast.”