Jackson, Jesse Louis

Jackson, Jesse Louis

Jackson, Jesse Louis, 1941-, African-American political leader, clergyman, and civil-rights activist, b. Greenville, S.C. Raised in poverty, he attended the Chicago Theological Seminary (1963-65) and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968. Active in the civil-rights movement, he became a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. He served as executive director (1966-71) of Operation Breadbasket, a program of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that addressed the economic problems of African Americans in northern cities. In 1971 he founded Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), an organization to combat racism. Since 1986 he has been president of the National Rainbow Coalition, an independent political organization aimed at uniting disparate groups—racial minorities, the poor, peace activists, and environmentalists. In 1984 and 1988, Jackson, an effective public speaker, campaigned for the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the first African American to contend seriously for that office. He was elected (1990) as a nonvoting member of the Senate from the District of Columbia and has campaigned for its statehood. He has written Legal Lynching (1996), an attack on capital punishment.

See biography by M. Frady (1996); studies by A. L. Reed, Jr. (1986), E. O. Coulton (1989), A. D. Hertzke (1993), and K. L. Stanford (1997).

Jesse Louis Lasky (September 13, 1880January 13, 1958) was a pioneer Hollywood film producer, and also a key founder of Paramount Pictures with Adolph Zukor.


Born in San Francisco, California, he worked at a variety of jobs but began his entertainment career as a vaudeville performer that eventually led to the motion picture business. His sister Blanche married Samuel Goldwyn and in 1913 Lasky and Goldwyn teamed up with Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel to form the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company. With limited funds, they rented a barn near Los Angeles where they made Hollywood's first feature length film. Known today as the Lasky-DeMille Barn, it is now home to the Hollywood Heritage Museum.

In 1916 their company merged with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company to create the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. They built a large studio facility in Astoria, New York. In 1927, Lasky was one of the original thirty-six who founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Financial problems arose within the industry as a result of the Great Depression and the Famous Players-Lasky Company went into receivership in 1932. Jesse Lasky then partnered with Mary Pickford to produce films but within a few years she dissolved their business relationship. Lasky then found work as a producer at one of the big studios until 1945 when he formed his own production company. He made his last film in 1951 and in 1957 published his autobiography, "I Blow My Own Horn."

Lasky died in 1958 of a heart attack in Beverly Hills. During 1957-1958 four other movie producers died including Louis B. Mayer, Harry Cohn, Al Lichtman, and Louis K. Sidney. Lasky was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, adjacent to Paramount Studios, in Hollywood.


For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Jesse L. Lasky has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6433 Hollywood Blvd. Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills was named in his honor.


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