When James Bond producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and his wife Dana first invested in USC (Univerisity of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, the film program did not have a single endowed professor’s chair.
Dana and Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli
On the centennial of Broccoli’s birth, his family, friends and fans gathered to celebrate the installation of professor John Watson in the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Endowed Chair in Producing at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Several of the individuals who have brought Bond to the screen—including actor Timothy Dalton and director Marc Forster—attended the ceremony.
The reception took place on Nov. 9 in the school’s newly christened Broccoli Theatre, following a James Bond film festival presented by USC’s arts and humanities initiative Visions and Voices.
“We’re here tonight to celebrate the legacy of one of the most significant producing teams in the history of cinema, Dana and Cubby Broccoli,” said dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “What can you say? There’s never been another team like it. As the creators of the Bond film franchise, they gave us a unique and endearing screen character that has thrilled millions of people around the world.”
Cubby Broccoli’s stepson Michael G. Wilson, who serves as franchise producer with his half-sister Barbara Broccoli, spoke on behalf of his family and the Broccoli Foundation. He recalled how his stepfather left the Long Island farm where he grew up and headed to Hollywood, where he landed jobs as an assistant director, agent and producer.
“What made Cubby such a fantastic producer?” asked Wilson. “In part, it was the same qualities that made him a wonderful man. He loved entertaining the public. He loved his work. He loved his cast and crews. And they in turn rewarded him with their loyalty.”
Dalton, who starred in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, affirmed that Cubby and Dana Broccoli earned his admiration. “There are many producers you work with, but there are not many you learn from, and there aren’t many you respect and admire,” he said. “Cubby and his wife Dana, I respected and learned from, which is rare.”
After a short tribute film, Daley, Watson, Wilson and Barbara Broccoli ascended the stage and unveiled the newly endowed chair.
Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
Watson, who produced Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Backdraft and more than 300 hours of television, acknowledged the iconic status of the franchise and its producers.
“By my calculations, it’s going to be 50 years from when they shot the first Bond film in 1961 to when the next one comes out, which is just extraordinary,” he said. “Thank you, Barbara and Michael, for this honor. I really appreciate you choosing me. I’m humbled by it.”
The installment of the new chair reflects a long relationship between the School of Cinematic Arts and the legendary producing family.
“Cubby was convinced that what we were doing down here was important to the future and that ultimately the people we were training would work on his franchise, and they have,” said professor Rick Jewell, who teaches a class on James Bond. “Bob Elswit, for example, who’s one of our top cinematography graduates, was the director of photography on Tomorrow Never Dies. So it all came true. It’s just so wonderful to be here tonight to see this all come to fruition.”
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