Sumner Redstone has joined an elite group of Hollywood heavyweights in cementing his legacy with a prominent USC building named in his honor.
Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who both also have buildings in the School of Cinematic Arts complex named after them, USC leaders and other industry titans toasted the 89-year-old Redstone on Tuesday night.
Redstone, who earned his degrees at Harvard University, built a global empire that consists of two publicly traded media companies, CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., which includes the century-old Hollywood film studio Paramount Pictures. He assembled his corporate fortress from a regional drive-in movie theater chain founded by his father.
"Sumner has far exceeded anyone's expectations when it comes to giving to the Trojan community," Spielberg said during the short ceremony.
In recent years, Redstone has donated about $150 million to various causes, including a total of $45 million to USC.
"It's not the name on the outside of the building, or the name of the two soundstages that will be Sumner's legacy," Spielberg said. "It's the example he's setting by helping to provide a facility for generations of students to come."
USC School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth M. Daly said that 1,000 students would use the facility each year to learn how to produce, direct and edit films.
"This is where it starts," said Lucas, who donated $175 million to the school nearly seven years ago, a contribution that helped fund much of the Cinematic Arts complex. The "Star Wars" creator attended USC film school in the 1960s.
"It's getting more and more obvious that unless you have a really good university education in communication and cinematic arts you are going to be way behind the curve because it's getting more and more complicated and technical," Lucas said. "What Sumner has done is to ensure the future of America's film industry."