The American Film Institute said Friday that it has established the Thomas P. Pollock Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of Tom Pollock, the famed Hollywood attorney, Universal Pictures chairman and producer who died last month at age 77. The scholarship, which is being supported by a who’s who of Hollywood, will be awarded annually to promising producers from underrepresented communities.
This year’s first recipients are Haley Beasley and Nagee Brown, both in the Producing track and in the class of 2022.
“Tom championed AFI and the power of great stories – and he believed in the mission of the Conservatory to inspire and educate diverse voices,” Kathleen Kennedy, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, said today in announcing the scholarship. “Through this endowed scholarship fund, made possible by the goodwill and admiration he created during his lifetime, his legacy will live on in the next generation of storytellers.”
The scholarship fund is being supported by leadership gifts from Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, Robert Daly and Carole Bayer Sager, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Todd Phillips, Alan and Cindy Horn, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the Jeffrey and Margo Baker Barbakow Family, Ivan Reitman, Ron Howard, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Hergott, Jon and Barbara Avnet, George and Amal Clooney, Universal Pictures and Pollock’s family.
Pollock, whose first job was as an assistant to founding director George Stevens Jr at the AFI Conservatory, joined the AFI Board of Trustees in 1985 and eventually served as chairman of both the AFI Board of Trustees and the AFI Board of Directors. He most recently was AFI Chair Emeritus.
Over his long career Pollock oversaw films that included Jurassic Park, the Back to the Future trilogy, Do the Right Thing, Fried Green Tomatoes, Backdraft, Twins, Cape Fear, Parenthood, The Flintstones, Kindergarten Cop, the Beethoven, Beethoven’s 2nd, Casper, Waterworld, Sneakers, Lorenzo’s Oil, Casino, and Schindler’s List. As an attorney, he will always be remembered for making arguably the greatest deal ever for a filmmaker client when he brokered the Star Wars pact for Lucas that gave the filmmaker rights to the franchise.