Film producer Frank Price named trustee

04/22/96
by James Lytle
Frank Price

Frank Price, an independent producer of films for motion pictures and television, has been elected to USC's Board of Trustees.

"Frank Price brings many exceptional strengths to the board," said president Steven B. Sample, in announcing the election. "As a film executive and producer with a proven track-record of box-office and critical success, Mr. Price understands both the business realities and the creative richness of our pre-eminent 20th-century art form. As chairman of the Board of Councilors at our School of Cinema-Television, he has helped to develop programs and new initiatives to make the school an international center for the study of motion pictures. We are pleased to welcome him to the university's board."

Circle of Friends, starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver, is the latest production from Price's production company, Price Entertainment Inc. A previous production, The Tuskegee Airmen, starring Lawrence Fishburne, won a 1996 NAACP Image Award and a 1996 Peabody Award. Other noteworthy productions include Shadowlands, with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, and A Bronx Tale, starring Robert DeNiro.

Prior to forming his own company, Price headed major studios for nearly two decades. He was chairman of Columbia Pictures twice, chairman of the MCA Motion Picture Group and president of Universal Television.

Under his watch, three films have swept the Academy Awards - Kramer vs. Kramer (five Oscars) and Gandhi (eight), both at Columbia, and Out of Africa (seven), at Universal. His credits as studio chief also include three entries in the all-time highest-grossing films category - Columbia's Ghostbusters and Tootsie and Universal's Back to the Future.

While Price's 10 highest grossing films have reaped a total of $1.5 billion at the box office, his creative concerns have been reflected in smaller-scale films, such as Educating Rita and A Passage to India.

At Columbia, Price hired first-time writer-director John Singleton (a School of Cinema-Television alumnus) under a long-term contract and greenlighted Singleton's critically acclaimed box-office smash Boyz 'n the Hood.

Price's career began in television, where he advanced through the ranks, from writer to producer to division president, along the way helping to create two new television formats — the made-for-television movie and the mini-series (Rich Man, Poor Man).

Price has been a member of the boards of directors of Columbia Pictures Industries, MCA Inc. and Sony Pictures Entertainment. His many involvements with industry organizations include service on the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the board of trustees of the Sundance Institute for Film and Television, and the board of directors of the Motion Picture Association of America.

He also serves as chairman of the School of Cinema-Television's Board of Councilors.

A native of Decatur, Ill., Price was selected as Pioneer of the Year in 1982 by the Foundation of the Motion Picture Pioneers and was named Motion Picture Executive of the Year in 1980 by the National Association of Theater Owners.

Price and his wife, Katherine, have four sons, Stephen, David, Roy and Will. David attended USC's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences from 1986 to 1989; Roy is a 1995 graduate of the Law School; and Will is currently a graduate student in the School of Engineering.