Bethlyn Hand Dead: Former Motion Picture Assn. Advertising Exec Was 85

Bethlyn Hand, who served as senior vice president of advertising and administration for the Motion Picture Association of America, died Feb. 14 of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 85 years old.

Hand joined the Hollywood trade organization shortly after Jack Valenti began his 37-year tenure as MPA president in 1966.

“She was by my side at the very beginning of my tenure at the MPAA,” Valenti said in 2003, four years before his death in 2007. “I got a lot of credit for what she did.”

Working with the MPAA, Hand’s responsibilities included the approval of marketing campaigns aligning with the guidelines of its ratings program — a duty that often spurred studio executives and producers to meet with her to plead their cases. In the ’90s, Hand was named one of Hollywood’s most powerful women by the Hollywood Reporter.

“With the teenage movies, there’s always a lot more sex that marketers want in the advertising than we will agree to. With a trailer, you’re a captive audience,” Hand once remarked about her responsibilities.

Hand was born Jan. 30, 1938. She was raised in Houston, Texas before studying journalism at the University of Texas. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1966 to work alongside Valenti. In 1975, she moved to Los Angeles to serve as the head of the MPAA’s advertising division.

Along with her time at the MPAA, Hand also served on the Public Relations Coordinating Committee, which handled press inquiries during the Oscars. She was also a member of the public relations branch of the Academy and served as vice chairman of the California Film Commission.

“It has been a wonderfully rewarding career in which I have made long-lasting friendships,” Hand said in a 2003 statement announcing her retirement.

Hand is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Lloyd and Ann Hand; her three nieces, Bridget Taylor, Susan Hand and Cahtherine Hand; her five great-nieces and nephews; and her four great-great-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be arranged by Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Mortuary. To commemorate Hand, the family asks that donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund or the Alzheimer’s Association.

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