Facebook Twitter

Humanitarian praises cancer institute

SHARE Humanitarian praises cancer institute

The former chairman of Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group this week toured the Huntsman Cancer Institute and called it the "gold standard."

"I was very, very impressed by the facility and the look of it," said Sherry Lansing, who received the Hersholt Humanitarian Award at this year's Academy Awards. "You don't feel like you're in a cancer hospital."

Lansing was invited recently by Jon Huntsman Sr. to tour the institute that overlooks the University of Utah campus. At one time, Huntsman and Lansing served on a Red Cross board together. She was in Salt Lake City for only a few hours to tour the Huntsman facility.

Lansing was 40 when she lost her own mother, at age 64, to ovarian cancer.

"That led me to become a cancer advocate," Lansing said in a phone interview.

She created The Sherry Lansing Foundation to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Lansing said it's too early to tell what will come of her first visit to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

"I hope that it will be the beginning of a dialogue that will lead to a collaboration," she said. "I think it's premature to say what that relationship will be — I have no idea where this is going to lead."

For starters, Lansing said how she was impressed by the warmth and kindness of staff members, how they all seemed to get along like family. She was also struck by the institute's attention to patient care.

"I don't remember ever seeing a hospital like this," she said.

Lansing also remarked how the institute is attracting the "finest" scientists and doctors who are involved in cancer research.

Starting out as an actress, Lansing carved out a remarkable career in Hollywood by becoming vice president in charge of production for Columbia Pictures and then the first female president of 20th Century Fox when she was in her 30s. In 1992, the Chicago native was named chairman of Paramount Pictures' Motion Picture Group, a post she held for 12 years.

Last February, Lansing was given an Oscar statuette during the 79th Academy Awards in recognition of her humanitarian efforts that "have brought credit to the industry."

E-mail: sspeckman@desnews.com