Hollywood Producer Gifts $5M to Chicago Alma Mater

Sherry Lansing gave the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools $5 million to be used for a new 250-seat arts wing

By Lacey McCraney and LeeAnn Trotter
|  Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011  |  Updated 10:08 PM CDT
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Sherry Lansing's gift to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools wil be used for a new 250-seat arts wing.

Sherry Lansing's gift to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools wil be used for a new 250-seat arts wing.

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A Hollywood producer and Chicago native thanked her alma mater Wednesday with a big check.

Sherry Lansing gave the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools $5 million to be used for a new 250-seat arts wing.

"I'm thrilled that they're embracing the arts now in a new way," Lansing said via a telephone interview.

Lansing graduated from the school in 1962 and said it had a big impact on her value system and the way she conducted her life.

Her contribution will support a new arts wing, to be named the "Sherry Lansing Theater." The existing theater will be demolished.

School director David Magill said he hopes groundbreaking will be made within the next three years.

"I'm really glad that the theater program and the arts programs will get a chance to continue on with her gift," said student Sydney Fishman.

Lansing is known for having a hand in more than 200 movies including "Forrest Gump," "Braveheart" and "Titanic." She is married to another Chicago native, William Friedkin, who directed "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection."

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