Former Hollywood lobbyist and presidential adviser Jack Valenti has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke.
Valenti, 85, had the stroke last week and remains at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, according to a statement issued by longtime friend Barry Meyer, chairman and chief executive of Warner Bros.
“His family tells me that the doctors are encouraged by his progress,” Meyer said.
No further details would be released, he said.
Valenti is the former president of the Motion Picture Association of America, where he devised the ratings system for films. He also served as an adviser to President Johnson.
With a shock of white hair, Texas drawl and cowboy boots, the diminutive Valenti was a force to be reckoned with at congressional hearings or Hollywood gatherings when he represented the motion picture industry.
Valenti was tapped to head the MPAA in 1966 by legendary Hollywood power broker Lew Wasserman.
In 1968, in the wake of cries for movie censorship, he abolished the outdated Hays Code and instituted the voluntary ratings system designed to guide parents with labels such as “G” and “R.”
Valenti retired from the MPAA in 2004 and was succeeded by Dan Glickman, a former Kansas lawmaker and agriculture secretary under President Clinton.
Valenti got his start as an aide to then-Vice President Johnson. He was riding in the presidential motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
Valenti was whisked aboard Air Force One for Johnson’s famous flight back to Washington, and was drafted as a special assistant to the new president.