Film Icon Warren Beatty to Present Distinction in Service Award in Evening Co-Chaired by Robert A. Iger and Willow Bay

Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment
Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment
  • Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment
    Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment
    Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment
    Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment

LOS ANGELES, March 28, 2012 — The Geffen Playhouse’s annual Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser, which recognizes leadership in the theater community while raising support for the theater’s artistic and outreach initiatives, will honor Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment Jim Gianopulos with the Distinction in Service Award.  This honor will be presented to Mr. Gianopulos by entertainment icon and longtime colleague Warren Beatty, and the star-studded event will be co-chaired by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert A. Iger and his wife, journalist Willow Bay.  This irreverent evening of laughter, music and stories, which is sponsored by City National Bank, will be held on Monday June 4, 2012 at the Geffen Playhouse.

Backstage at the Geffen is a truly unique event at which audiences are privileged with some of LA’s most prominent performers’ intimate behind-the-scenes stories.  This year’s performers will be announced shortly, but previous artists who have shared their backstage stories include: Julie Andrews, Annette Bening, Carol Burnett, Kristin Chenoweth, Clint Eastwood, Brendan Fraser, Tom Hanks, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Hyde Pierce, Ray Romano, Martin Short and Dick Van Dyke. 

The recipient of this year’s Distinction in Service Award, Jim Gianopulos has demonstrated a vital commitment to our cultural landscape. As Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Mr. Gianopulos is one of the longest tenured studio heads in the industry and during his time at Fox he and his co-chair Tom Rothman have overseen a broad range of successful films and the studio’s most profitable years ever. He also has the distinction of having championed two of the biggest risks, and the two highest grossing films of all time: Avatar and Titanic. Mr. Gianopulos is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a member of the Board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund and a trustee of the American Film Institute.  In addition to his involvement in the entertainment industry, he serves on the National Entertainment Advisory Council for the Anti-Defamation League, on the Board and Executive Committee of the X-Prize Foundation and as a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University.

Gianopulos joins an elite group of Geffen honorees – including 2011 recipients Julie Andrews (presented by Carol Burnett) and Creative Artists Agency (presented by Tom Hanks), 2010 recipients Kristin Chenoweth (presented by Matthew Morrison) and Barry Meyer (presented by Clint Eastwood), 2009 recipients Leslie Moonves (presented by Mary Steenburgen) and Rita Wilson (presented by Martin Short),  2008 recipients Annette Bening (presented by Anjelica Huston) and Robert A. Iger (presented by Julie Taymor), 2007 recipients Helen Mirren (presented by John Lithgow) and Herb Gelfand (presented by Gil Cates), 2006 recipient Colin Callender (presented by Annette Bening) and 2004 recipient Karl Malden (presented by Tom Hanks) – each of whom have each been celebrated at Backstage at the Geffen, an event that has become known throughout the city as a “must-attend” night at the theater.

Backstage at the Geffen title sponsor City National Bank is joined by presenting sponsors including Audi of America, Los Angeles magazine and the W Los Angeles-Westwood along with its poolside restaurant The Backyard, which will be the site of an exclusive pre-show reception and dinner by Executive Chef Dakota Weiss for honorees, special guests and the event’s Host Committee.  The evening will also include a silent auction, which will launch online on May 8, 2012.

The evening raises funds for the Geffen Playhouse’s artistic initiatives including new play development, playwright commissions, second productions and artistic risks, as well as the theater’s award-winning education and outreach programs, which help bring the excitement of live theater to more than 22,000 children, families and community members each year.  Last year, the event raised $850,000 for these programs, which helped the theater to produce three world premieres in our 2011/2012 season as well as bring nearly a thousand students to the Geffen Playhouse for special matinee performances.

Monday, June 4, 2012
7pm – Reception
8pm – Program
9:30pm – Dessert
Distinction in Service Award – Jim Gianopulos
Distinction in Theater Award – TBA

The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition.  Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit

City National Bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of City National Corporation (NYSE: CYN). It is backed by $23.1 billion in total assets, and provides banking, investment and trust services through 79 offices, including 16 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville, Tenn., and Atlanta. The company and its investment affiliates manage or administer $55.6 billion in client investment assets, including nearly $34 billion under direct management.  For more information about City National, visit the company’s Website at

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