Remembering Edie Wasserman

August 23, 2011

What else is there to blog about this week than the extraordinary life and sad passing of Edie Wasserman. As many of the news stories have pointed out, Edie’s departure marks the end of a brilliant era in the history of Hollywood as well as the loss of the best friend the Motion Picture & Television Fund ever had. In the past few days, most every conversation I’ve had with a resident, family member, staff, or fellow industry member has reflected on the enormous and lasting influence Edie had on all of us.

As she told it, Edie’s first exposure to the Fund came when her mother, then 95 years old, expressed a desire to live at “the Home” if she should ever need that level of care. At the time, Edie knew nothing about the Home and her husband Lew’s involvement was limited to giving “at the office.” Based on her mother’s wishes, Edie visited the Home with Lew and drove away that day with an impression that it was an important place and filled a key gap in the lives of industry workers. And not long after made a commitment, supported by Lew, to become part of the Fund. The rest, as they say, is history – from Board member to fundraiser, from cheerleader to donor, Edie committed her energies and vast influence to making the Home a better place and to protecting industry members from the ravages of life’s disappointments.

She was the real deal: she talked the talk and absolutely walked the walk. In recent years and in declining health, she not only insisted on keeping the date for her birthday celebration on campus with the residents, but eagerly looked forward to it as perhaps her big outing of the season. The residents looked forward to it as much as she did; the place buzzed for weeks in advance and I can tell you that on the day every one of them took the time and went out of their way to greet Edie, remember themselves to her from years past, and wish her a happy birthday and a long life. Last year, at age 94, she insisted on arriving an hour early and touring the campus to check up on everything and make sure that we were doing right by her residents. Fortunately, we passed inspection!

Many others who have worked here longer and spent more time with Edie can speak with more authority about her than I can. And they will, for a long time to come. She left a lasting impression, an invaluable legacy, and a high standard for all of us to meet as we work together to sustain the good works of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. At the very least, Edie Wasserman would continue to demand that all industry members live up to their commitment to take care of one another. She and Lew took that commitment seriously and we all benefited.

About Bob Beitcher

Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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2 Responses to Remembering Edie Wasserman

  1. Nikki Rocco on August 24, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Bob…thank you for sharing these heartfelt, comforting comments. Having been employed at Universal for more than 44 years, I have a long, personal history with Lew and Edie. Our Industry truly benefited from the Wassermans’ devotion to many causes, especially the MPTF. Thank you for recognizing Edie at this very sad moment in time.

  2. Scott Hamre on September 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I remember both Lew and Edie Wasserman from my days as a cater waiter at Chasen’s Restaurant. One of the parties was also a birthday for her. Very bouyant and cheerful personality. I’m sure her work and time spent with the MPTF benefitted a great many people.

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