“I’m a big feminist,” Ms. Kanin always proudly asserted, “I’ve put into my play my feeling that women should never back away from life.”
As Mr. Harmetz recounts in his NYTimes obit, In 1979 Ms. Kanin, who was a playwright as well as a screenwriter, became just the second female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the advocacy organization that presents the Oscars. The first was Bette Davis, who resigned after two months in 1941…Thirty-four years ago Ms. Kanin was elected president of the Motion Picture Academy by a board that consisted of 34 men and one other woman. Although the gender ratio has changed since then — there are 19 women on the Academy’s current 57-member board of governors — Ms. Kanin was the last woman to serve as president. In her four one-year terms, the maximum allowed, she was widely credited with pushing the Academy to help preserve Hollywood films.
I was honored to interview Fay Kanin for the award winning, Reel Women Archive Film Series: Screenwriters on Screenwriting. The above video was Kanin’s interview excerpts from that documentary.
I also wrote of her extensively in Reel Women:The First Hundred Years
We honor and enjoy her again today.
Thanks Fay, for all that you did for Reel Women and for film. You won’t be forgotten.