Sherry Lansing chats with Newsweek's Sean Smith about leaving Paramount after 12 years as chairman and being the first woman to run a major studio. She insists, of course, that she's departing Hollywood on her terms. Time, she says, to spend more restful days with husband William Friedkin. Excerpts from the Q-and-A in the new issue:
Was stepping down a hard decision?
No. For five or six years now I've said I was going to stop working when I'm 60. It's an artificial demarcation, maybe, but I feel like 60 is the new 50. You're still young and vital enough to have a third chapter. I've loved my work, but that's not the third chapter that I want to have.
The Hollywood rumor mill worked you over pretty hard in the early days. For years people gossiped that you got jobs from men because you were intimate with them.
There was no truth to any of that, of course. None. But if you're the first, it goes with the territory. People are always making up reasons why you got the job, rather than understanding that you got it because you worked hard. Then you get older, and no one says that anymore. [Laughs]
The issue also has a feature by Allison Samuels anointing FIDM alumnus Monique Lhuillier "Hollywood's hottest designer." And not just because she did Britney Spears' wedding gown.