Ted Gagliano, president of post-production at 20th Century Fox Studios, was attending UCLA Neurosurgery’s Visionary Ball last year on the same night one of his close friends was undergoing surgery to remove a deadly brain tumor. During the dinner, a patient at each table stood up and shared how a UCLA neurosurgeon had saved his or her life. Gagliano, who oversaw post-production for movies including Avatar and Titanic, said those patients motivated his $1M pledge. The funds will help further the research of Dr. Linda Liau, whose team has developed a vaccine that trains a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy brain cancer cells. Gagliano also is on the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery’s board of advisers. (Photo: Getty Images)
Christy Grosz is AwardsLine editor and a contributor to Deadline.
Universal President and COO Ron Meyer this afternoon made an expletive-laced commencement speech to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Class of 2012. He told the graduating students that the best way to get ahead in showbiz is to ask questions. “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups,” he told the audience. Twice. The longtime studio head also pointed out that despite the cliches “You don’t have to be an asshole to succeed.” He also stressed that finding an agent is the single most important thing a new graduate can do. Ask everyone you meet. “Just don’t ask me,” he warned. The ceremony was dedicated to the school’s founding dean and Oscar ceremony producer Gil Cates. The commencement also honored directors Penelope Spheeris and Shirley Jo Finney with distinguished alumni awards. UPDATE: Here’s the text of Meyer’s speech:
Los Angeles, CA – Ron Meyer, Universal Studios President and COO, will be the 2012 Commencement Speaker for this year’s UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s (TFT) commencement ceremony. Recipients of TFT’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards are director and screenwriter Penelope Spheeris for Film and Shirley Jo Finney, the award-winning international director/actor, for Theater, both of whom will receive their awards at the ceremony. This year’s Commencement is dedicated to TFT founding dean and industry legend, Gil Cates. TFT Dean Teri Schwartz will preside over the graduation celebration on June 15 from 4:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. at Dickson Court North on the UCLA campus.