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Kathleen Kennedy (producer)

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Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kennedy in 2015
Born (1953-06-05) June 5, 1953 (age 65)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Education San Diego State University
Occupation Film producer
President of Lucasfilm (since October 2012)
Years active 1981–present
Frank Marshall (m. 1987)
Children 2

Kathleen Kennedy (born June 5, 1953) is an American film producer. In 1981, she co-founded the production company Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and husband Frank Marshall.

She was a producer on the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the Jurassic Park franchise, the first two of which became two of the top ten highest-grossing films of the 1990s. Kennedy is second to Spielberg in domestic box office receipts, with over $7 billion as of January 2018.[1]

On October 30, 2012, she became the president of Lucasfilm after The Walt Disney Company acquired the company for over $4 billion.[2]

Overall, Kennedy participated in the making of 60 films, mostly as executive producer, that garnered 8 Academy Award nominations[3] and over $11 billion worldwide including three of the highest-grossing films in motion picture history.[4]

Early life[edit]

Kennedy was born in Berkeley, California, to Dione Marie "Dede" (née Dousseau), a one-time theater actress, and Donald R. Kennedy, a judge and attorney.[5] She has two sisters. Her twin sister, Connie, formerly a location manager in British Columbia, Canada, is now the executive producer of the Virtual Production company Profile Studios.[6] Her other sister is Dana Middleton-Silberstein, a television host and anchor, and press secretary/communications director for former Governor Gary Locke (D-WA).[5]

Kennedy graduated from Shasta High School in Redding, California, in 1971. She continued her education at San Diego State University where she majored in telecommunications and film. In her final year, Kennedy gained employment at a local San Diego TV station, KCST, taking on various roles including camera operator, video editor, floor director and finally KCST news production coordinator.[citation needed]

After her employment with KCST, she went on to produce a local talk show entitled You're On for the station for four years before moving to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, Kennedy secured her first film production job working as an assistant to John Milius, who at the time was executive producer of Spielberg's 1941 (1979).[citation needed]

Film producer[edit]

During the production of 1941, while working for screenwriter John Milius, Kennedy came to the attention of Steven Spielberg, who hired Kennedy as his assistant.[7] Both Spielberg and Kennedy agree she was a terrible typist who was kept on only because of her good production ideas. Kennedy was credited as associate to Spielberg on Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), then associate producer on Spielberg's production of Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist (1982).[citation needed]

She began receiving producer credit with Spielberg on the box-office success E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), which continued on most of his films for the next three decades. Following her work on the Indiana Jones films, she rose to become one of Hollywood's leading producers.

Kathleen Kennedy during the Paris premiere of The Adventures of Tintin on October 22, 2011.

In 1981, she helped co-found and run the hugely successful production company Amblin Entertainment, with Spielberg and her future husband Frank Marshall. She went on to collaborate with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson, and Clint Eastwood when they made films for Amblin. She took over a large portion of the running of Amblin and served as president of the Amblin company until 1992, when she decided to form her own film company with Marshall.[citation needed]

She became a partner with him in The Kennedy/Marshall Company, a Santa-Monica-based film-production company with a deal at DreamWorks. She continued her business relationship with Spielberg and became executive producer for both Jurassic Park (1993) and the historical drama Schindler's List.[citation needed]

During the 1980s and 1990s Kennedy served on the advisory board of the National Student Film Institute and in 1991 was a "Grimmy Award" recipient in recognition for her outstanding support of student film making. Kennedy was also an Honorary Chairperson of the institute.[8][9]

In 1995, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.[10] In 2007, she was the first recipient of Women in Film's Paltrow Mentorship Award, for showing extraordinary commitment to mentoring and supporting the next generation of filmmakers and executives.[11]

In 2005 she was a producer on two of Spielberg's films: War of the Worlds and Munich, the latter of which earned her an Academy Award nomination. Marshall and Kennedy were producers for the US versions of two Studio Ghibli animated features, Ponyo released in 2009[12] and The Secret World of Arrietty,[13] released in 2012. In 2012, Lincoln, produced by Steven Spielberg, was nominated for seven Golden Globes and twelve Academy Awards.[citation needed]

In May 2012, she stepped down from Kennedy/Marshall, leaving Marshall as sole principal of their film company.[14][15] In the following month, Kennedy became co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd. alongside George Lucas.[16][17] When Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, Kennedy was promoted to president.[18]

Kennedy sits on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Producers Branch).[19] For the 2001–02 period, she was co-president (with Tim Gibbons) of the Producers Guild of America.[20]



  1. ^ People Index – Producers, Box Office Mojo; retrieved October 30, 2012.
  2. ^ "Deadline Hollywood Daily". October 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  3. ^ Kathleen Kennedy: Awards,; accessed February 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "Passing the Baton: Kathleen Kennedy". Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b "Dione Marie (Dousseau) "Dede" Kennedy (1931-2005) obituary". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  6. ^ Connie Kennedy profile,; accessed February 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Ellison, Sarah. "Meet the Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood". HWD. Retrieved 2018-04-30. 
  8. ^ Editor (June 10, 1994). National Student Film Institute/L.A: The Sixteenth Annual Los Angeles Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. pp. 10–11. 
  9. ^ Editor (June 7, 1991). Los Angeles Student Film Institute: 13th Annual Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "Past Recipients". Archived from the original on 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  11. ^ "Awards Retrospective" Archived 2014-08-06 at the Wayback Machine.,; retrieved 2012-10-02.
  12. ^ ""Ponyo" US Release Semi-Detailed". GhibliWiki. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  13. ^ "The Secret World of Arrietty". Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  14. ^ "The Kennedy/Marshall Company – About", The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  15. ^ Susan King, "'E.T.': Kathleen Kennedy on Spielberg, Lucas and making of a classic", Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2012; retrieved October 16, 2012.
  16. ^ Lussier, Germaine. "Kathleen Kennedy Named as Co-Chair and Successor to George Lucas at Lucasfilm". /Film. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Lucasfilm Names Kathleen Kennedy Co-Chair As Successor To George Lucas". Deadline. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd". Yahoo!. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  19. ^ "Board of Governors | History and Organization of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences",; retrieved 2012-10-02.
  20. ^ "History", Producers Guild of America; retrieved 2012-10-02.

External links[edit]