Alumni Spotlight: Jerry Zucker '68
A 1968 graduate of Shorewood High School, Jerry Zucker began his career in collaboration with his brother, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams when they formed their production company, known as ZAZ. The team wrote and directed, Airplane! and Top Secret. They also directed Ruthless People starring Bette Midler and Danny De Vito and wrote and produced Kentucky Fried Movie. They created the popular feature The Naked Gun starring Leslie Nielsen, based on their television series Police Squad!.
Jerry Zucker also directed Ghost, starring Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and Patrick Swayze; First Knight starring Sean Connery, Richard Gere, and Julia Ormond; and the comedy Rat Race with Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jon Lovitz. As a producer, Mr. Zucker's work includes A Walk In The Clouds, starring Keanu Reeves; My Life starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman; My Best Friend's Wedding, starring Julia Roberts; Fair Game starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, Friends With Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, Mental, starring Toni Collette and Anthony LaPaglia, and Dear Dumb Diary, based on the popular children's book series by Jim Benton.
In 2008, Jerry Zucker and his wife Janet launched the "Science and Entertainment Exchange" in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The goal of The Exchange is to use the vehicle of popular entertainment media to deliver powerful and positive messages about the importance of science.