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Paramount Veteran Barry London Resigns

Movies: Vice chairman of the motion picture group will become an independent producer at the studio.

September 10, 1996|CLAUDIA ELLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Barry London, a 25-year veteran of Paramount Pictures, resigned Monday as vice chairman of the motion picture group to become an independent producer at the studio.

London was responsible for the studio's theatrical and video marketing and distribution of movies worldwide.

Paramount executives said there is no immediate replacement for London, who will remain in his post until one is found. Studio insiders suggested that Paramount Chairman Sherry Lansing, to whom London reported, has a replacement ready.

London, 48, said he had been contemplating making a career change for years and had "reached a point in my life where I had been doing something so long, I needed new challenges and opportunities."

He denied rumors that his resignation had been precipitated by infighting with key Paramount executives or by the studio's recent spate of box-office disappointments, including "The Phantom," "Escape From L.A." and "A Very Brady Sequel."

"That's totally false. This is something I requested and talked about doing years ago," said London, adding, "I'm very excited and thrilled."

During his long tenure, London has worked on a number of the studio's biggest hits, including "Forrest Gump" and, more recently, "Mission: Impossible."

Lansing said she considered London not only a partner but also "one of my closest friends, and I'm glad he's staying at Paramount."

Lansing also dismissed rumors of any tensions that are said to have existed between London and other executives at the studio.

"Everyone is looking for a hidden agenda and there isn't one," said Lansing, adding: "Barry has wanted to produce for a while. Doing the same job for 25 years, you get burned out."

London joined Paramount in 1971 as a booker in the distribution office in Los Angeles.

He rose through the distribution ranks, becoming vice chairman of the motion picture group in 1994 after serving as worldwide distribution president since 1991.

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