WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- Jack Valenti, the man who was the public face of Hollywood for decades and who created the movie rating system, died Thursday in Washington at age 85.
Valenti suffered a stroke in March and had been in ill health since, The Los Angeles Times said. He had just returned to his Washington home after a stay at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
"It's the end of an era," Sherry Lansing, former Paramount Pictures chairwoman, told the Times. "He was one of the greatest leaders our industry ever had. He was one of those unique individuals who could build consensus."
Valenti headed the Motion Picture Association of America for 38 years until he retired in 2004. But Valenti's legacy for the movie-going public is the ratings system he ushered in, in 1968.
Valenti defended it for years. Today it remains the self-policing vehicle he envisioned, the newspaper said.
Valenti's death comes just before the anticipated June release of his memoirs, which chronicle -- among other things -- his piloting a B-25 during World War II, serving as a confidant for President Lyndon Johnson and influencing nearly every issue that the entertainment industry faces, from censorship to piracy.