Biography

Tom Rothman is Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group. In that role, Rothman oversees all of the studio’s motion picture production and distribution activities worldwide.

Rothman joined Sony Pictures in late 2013 as Chairman of TriStar Productions.

Previously, he served as Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment from 2000-2012. He left FFE January 1, 2013, following the most profitable decade in the company’s history and after its split from parent News Corporation and reorganization into 21st Century Fox.  In his capacity, he oversaw one the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion picture and television product, including Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Searchlight (which Rothman founded in 1994 and which won the 2008 Best Picture Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire), Blue Sky Animation and Twentieth Century Fox Television.  Together those entities have yearly revenues over $8 Billion, operate in more than 70 countries worldwide, and have been at the forefront of the digital media revolution. Profit margins under Rothman and his co-chairman Jim Gianopolous were consistently the highest in the sector and its 2012 operating profits were the best of any studio.

Rothman’s tenure at Fox spanned more than eighteen years, longer than any creative head in the studio’s history, with the exception of the legendary Darryl Zanuck.  Before becoming Chairman, he held the positions of President of Twentieth Century Fox Film Group, President of Production for Twentieth Century Fox and President of Fox Searchlight.

A few of the many varied and enduring films made under his oversight, include: Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Life of Pi, Descendants, Cast Away, Master and Commander, Black Swan, Walk the Line, Juno, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Devil Wears Prada, Borat, The X-Men series, Marley and Me, Little Miss Sunshine, Minority Report, Moulin Rouge, Boys Don’t Cry, Sideways, Waiting to Exhale, The Ice Age series, The Simpsons Movie, Something About Mary, The Crucible, and the top two grossing movies of all time: Titanic and Avatar. Fox films during his time were nominated for over 150 Academy Awards, won three Best Picture Oscars, and earned in excess of $40 Billion in worldwide box office. Current hit series from TCFTV include: Modern Family, Glee and Homeland. Under Rothman, for the first time in Hollywood history, all four of the company’s major film production divisions were headed by women executives, all of whom had been mentored through the ranks at Fox.

Prior to Fox, Rothman was President of Worldwide Production for the Samuel Goldwyn Company.  While at Goldwyn he was responsible for such films as Henry V, Longtime Companion, Truly Madly Deeply, Much Ado About Nothing, Wild at Heart, Eat Drink Man Woman, The Wedding Banquet and The Madness Of King George.  He discovered and championed numerous filmmakers who went on to great international acclaim, including Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella and Kenneth Branagh.  During his tenure, the company’s pictures won the Palme D’Or at Cannes three times.

Rothman came to Goldwyn in 1989 from Columbia Pictures where he had been Executive Vice President, working for David Putnam and Dawn Steel.  Before joining Columbia, Rothman was a partner at the New York entertainment law firm of Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein and Selz where he represented numerous major industry figures in all arts-related fields including publishing, theatre, film, television, music, dance and photography, along with many independent filmmakers such as Spike Lee and Jim Jarmusch.  In 1986, he co-produced Robert Frank’s Candy Mountain and Jarmusch’s Down By Law, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival.

He began his work life as an English teacher and soccer and lacrosse coach at the Salisbury School in Connecticut and was later a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

Rothman graduated from Brown University in 1976, with Honors in English and American Literature, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and was an All New England selection in Division I Lacrosse.  In 1980 he graduated from Columbia Law School, as a two-time James Kent Scholar, the school’s highest academic distinction.

Rothman has written and hosted a television series entitled Fox Legacy, which includes almost fifty essays on the history of classic films.  The show has received favorable notices in many publications, including the New York Times.

He has spoken to both undergraduate and graduate students on many occasions including classes and lectures at UCLA, USC, NYU, Brown, AFI and Columbia.  He is a contributor to the Movie Business Book edited by Jason E. Squire, which is a reference used at film and business schools worldwide.

Among his many awards and distinctions are lifetime achievement recognitions from the IFP, the world’s leading independent film organization, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films and the Israeli Film Festival.  He has received showman of the year awards from Variety and the Publicist Guild and been named one of the 50 smartest people in Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly.  Columbia University honored him with the Arthur B. Krim Award for outstanding leadership in entertainment, and he was recently given the Corwin Award for Human Relations from the American Jewish Committee.  He is a longstanding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He serves on the Board of Directors of Priceline.com, a public company and the world’s leading online travel agency.

Philanthropic, Non-Profit and Personal

Tom Rothman has long been active in the non-profit arts and education arenas.

In December of 2013, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Rothman to a six year term on the National Council on the Arts, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The Council advises on the National Endowment for the Arts’ policies and programs and makes recommendations on grant applications.

He is a member of the Board of the Corporation of Brown University, where he serves on the Academic Affairs, Nominating and Executive Committees.  He is on the Board of California Institute for the Arts (CalArts), serving on the special committee for online education.  He has worked as a teacher and fundraiser for Mentor L.A. Partner Schools, an organization that honored him in 2009 for his commitment to public education.  He has also been a prime supporter of the Fulfillment Fund, an educational mentoring group that celebrated him at its STARS benefit.  He is also an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute, which he served for over 20 years, and the American Film Institute, one of the leading film graduate schools in the country.  He serves on the board of New York’s Art Therapy Outreach Center, a non-profit using art therapy to help at-risk groups.

He is also involved in numerous other civic and philanthropic activities including fundraising for The Jewish Home for the Aging, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (which honored him at its Dinner of Champions event) and the American Jewish Committee.

Rothman has been married for almost 25 years to Jessica Harper, a multitalented actress (Stardust Memories, Suspiria, Phantom of the Paradise, My Favorite Year, Minority Report), singer/songwriter (Nora’s Room) and author (The Crabby Cook, and numerous children’s books).  They have two daughters.  A sports enthusiast, having coached AYSO soccer for many years, he continues to ski, play tennis, golf (badly) and at least show up to a weekly basketball game.  He grew up in Baltimore and remains a passionate devotee of the city’s particular charms.  He calls people “Hun,” roots for the Os and the Ravens, and believes lacrosse is the coolest sport on earth.  Indeed, in 2013, the Brown University Coaching Chair in Lacrosse was named in his honor, proving finally what Jessica said about his playing career: “the older you get, the better you were.”