Anita Hill
Mike Lovett
Anita Hill

University Professor Anita Hill has been selected to lead a commission that will study the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry. The effort, known as the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, has the backing of such show-biz heavyweights as Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Disney chair Bob Iger and Atlantic Records chair Julie Greenwald. Hill calls it “a long overdue journey to adopt best practices and create institutional change that fosters a culture of respect and human dignity throughout the industry.”

“Love Means Zero,” a documentary directed and produced by Jason Kohn ’01, premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film details the controversial career of former tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. Now in his 80s, Bollettieri was a driving force behind such prodigies as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova. Rolling Stone called “Love Means Zero” one of the 10 best films shown at the Toronto festival, dubbing it an “extraordinary portrait.”

For the second time in three years, a Brandeis grad has won the American Historical Association’s Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize, which annually recognizes the best book on Italian history. The 2017 prize went to Paul Garfinkel, PhD’04, for “Criminal Law in Liberal and Fascist Italy” (Cambridge University Press, 2016), a book Garfinkel, associate professor of history at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, began researching during his Brandeis years. In 2015, the Marraro Prize was awarded to David Kertzer, PhD’74, the Paul Dupee Jr. University Professor of Social Science at Brown University, for his book “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” (Random House, 2014). That book later earned Kertzer the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

In 1947, in highly politicized hearings, the House Committee on Un-American Activities attempted to identify communist subversives working in the entertainment industry. To mark the 70th anniversary of those hearings, and the industry’s subsequent blacklist of the so-called Hollywood 10 and hundreds of other alleged communists, American studies professor Tom Doherty in November wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter. Even today, he notes, the Motion Picture Association of America refuses to disavow its embrace of the blacklist. Doherty’s book about the blacklist era, “Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC and the Birth of the Blacklist,” will be published in April.

“Lamentations,” a work composed by Peter Child, MFA’78, PhD’81, had its world premiere at Boston’s Jordan Hall in January. Child says the piece, featuring a poetic translation of the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Lamentations, was inspired by the ongoing international refugee crisis. It is the second commissioned work Child has created for the Cantata Singers chorus and its music director David Hoose, who, like Child, studied composition at Brandeis. Her legacy has been cemented.

Debra Messing ’90, best-known for her portrayal of Grace on the NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in October.