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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 Frank Marshall. She has been the president of Lucasfilm since 2012.

Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kennedy in 2015
Born (1953-06-05) June 5, 1953 (age 66)
Alma materSan Diego State University
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1981–present
EmployerLucasfilm (2012–present)
TitlePresident of Lucasfilm
Frank Marshall (m. 1987)

Her first film as a producer was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). A decade later, again with Spielberg she produced the Jurassic Park franchise, the first two of which became two of the top ten highest-grossing films of the 1990s. In 1992, she co-founded The Kennedy/Marshall Company with her husband Frank Marshall. On October 30, 2012, she became the president of Lucasfilm after The Walt Disney Company acquired the company for over $4 billion.[1] She received the Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.[2][3]

Kennedy has participated in the making of over 60 films that garnered 8 Academy Award nominations[4] and over $11 billion worldwide, including three of the highest-grossing films in motion picture history.[5] Kennedy is second only to Spielberg in domestic box office receipts, with over $7 billion as of January 2018.[6]

Early lifeEdit

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.[7] 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.[8] Her other sister is Dana Middleton-Silberstein, a television host and anchor, and press secretary/communications director for former Governor Gary Locke (D-WA).[7]

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 (now KNSD), taking on various roles including camera operator, video editor, floor director and finally as KCST news production coordinator.[9]

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 producerEdit

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.[10] 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).[11]

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

She began receiving producer credit with Spielberg on the box-office success E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and continued serving the role on most of his films for the next three decades. In 1982, she helped co-found and run the hugely successful production company Amblin Entertainment with Spielberg and her future husband Frank Marshall.[11] She also produced Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) with George Lucas and Frank Marshall, and appeared in the film's opening sequence as a dancer.[12] Following her work on the Indiana Jones films, she rose to become one of Hollywood's leading producers. With Amblin, she produced the Back to the Future trilogy, collaborating with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson, and Clint Eastwood. She took over a large portion of running of Amblin and served as its president[citation needed] until 1991, when she and Marshall formed The Kennedy/Marshall Company[13] 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 (1993).[11]

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.[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

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 (2009) and The Secret World of Arrietty (2012).[18][19] She also produced Spielberg's Lincoln (2012), which 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.[20][21] In the following month, Kennedy became co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd. alongside George Lucas.[22][23] When Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, Kennedy was promoted to president.[24]

Kennedy sits on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Producers Branch).[25] For the 2001–02 period, she was co-president (with Tim Gibbons) of the Producers Guild of America.[26]

In 2018, Kennedy's contract to remain president of Lucasfilm was extended another three years, through 2021.[27]

In 2019, she was appointed Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for services to film production in the United Kingdom.[28]



  1. ^ "UPDATE: BREAKING: 'Star Wars' Returns – 'Episode 7' Slated For 2015 And More Movies Planned As Disney Buys Lucasfilm". Deadline Hollywood Daily. October 30, 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-08-06. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "Cicely Tyson, Kathleen Kennedy Among 2018 Honorary Oscar Winners". Archived from the original on 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  3. ^ Press, Associated. "Cicely Tyson, Kathleen Kennedy among film academy honorees". KFDM. Archived from the original on 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  4. ^ Kathleen Kennedy: Awards Archived 2018-01-28 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed February 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "Passing the Baton: Kathleen Kennedy". Archived from the original on April 4, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  6. ^ People Index – Producers Archived 2013-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, Box Office Mojo; retrieved October 30, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Dione Marie (Dousseau) "Dede" Kennedy (1931-2005) obituary". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  8. ^ Connie Kennedy profile Archived 2009-03-04 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed February 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Kathleen Kennedy | CSU". Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  10. ^ Ellison, Sarah. "Meet the Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood". HWD. Archived from the original on 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  11. ^ a b c "Kathleen Kennedy - Part 2". The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Butler, Mary Anne (November 19, 2018). "Did You Know: Kathleen Kennedy Was a Dancer in 'Temple of Doom'?!". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "The Kennedy/Marshall Company". The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Editor (June 7, 1991). Los Angeles Student Film Institute: 13th Annual Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Past Recipients". Archived from the original on 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
  17. ^ "Awards Retrospective" Archived 2014-08-06 at the Wayback Machine,; retrieved 2012-10-02.
  18. ^ ""Ponyo" US Release Semi-Detailed". GhibliWiki. 2008-06-05. Archived from the original on 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
  19. ^ "The Secret World of Arrietty". Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
  20. ^ "The Kennedy/Marshall Company – About" Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  21. ^ Susan King, "'E.T.': Kathleen Kennedy on Spielberg, Lucas and making of a classic" Archived 2012-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2012; retrieved October 16, 2012.
  22. ^ Lussier, Germaine. "Kathleen Kennedy Named as Co-Chair and Successor to George Lucas at Lucasfilm". /Film. Archived from the original on 2012-06-01. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  23. ^ "Lucasfilm Names Kathleen Kennedy Co-Chair As Successor To George Lucas". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  24. ^ "Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd". Yahoo!. 2012-10-30. Archived from the original on 2012-11-18. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  25. ^ "Board of Governors | History and Organization of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences" Archived 2014-10-01 at the Wayback Machine,; retrieved 2012-10-02.
  26. ^ "History" Archived 2012-09-22 at the Wayback Machine, Producers Guild of America; retrieved 2012-10-02.
  27. ^ Kit, Borys (September 28, 2018). "'Star Wars' Chief Kathleen Kennedy's Lucasfilm Deal Extended for Three Years (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  28. ^ "Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals – 2019".

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