Leron Gubler, President & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was the recipient of the Caucus American Spirit Award at the 12th Annual American Spirit Award Caucus Gala which was held at Taglyan Complex on Thursday, June 21st
“It is a real honor for me to receive your American Spirit Award for longevity! Actually, after nearly 26 years at the helm of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, I do appreciate this recognition. When I began back in 1992, my goal was simply to last for two years as the Chamber President and CEO. I was the fourth CEO in three years, and the previous two had lasted one year each, so I figured if I lasted for two years, that would be an achievement!”
Earlier this year, Gubler announced the news of his retirement plans. His tenure since 1992 continues to oversee the great comeback story of Hollywood. As President, Gubler assisted in the development of four successful business improvement districts and has successfully testified on behalf of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to bring new projects and revitalize Economic Development and the Entertainment Industry in the Hollywood community.
“I do want to recognize my two families for their support, without which I wouldn’t be standing here today. First, there is my Chamber family. They truly make my job look easy, and are so dedicated to this organization and to Hollywood. And then, there is my personal family. My wife Audrey and son Seth are here with us. My daughter Lauren is a dedicated student taking health at summer school and couldn’t get away. I do want to thank them for allowing me to work the long hours necessary to do this job. I believe that if you accept any assignment, you must give it your all, and that is what it has taken to represent the Chamber properly. I’m proud of what we have accomplished and I thank my family for being so supportive.”
Some people may wonder why Gubler has stayed so long in Hollywood.
“The answer to that question is easy – because it is Hollywood. This is a magical place, with a sense of history that very few communities possess. When I walk down the street, I can feel that palpable energy that comes from knowing of all the famous people who have passed this way. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. It was pretty bleak back in 1992. Companies were bailing left and right. But there was a core group of leaders in this community who still believed, and were not willing to give up. People like Johnny Grant, Bill Welsh, and others who knew that when you have possibly the most famous name in the world, things were bound to turn around at some point. They kept the lights on.”
Very Early on his watch, Gubler has been constantly a great leader within the organization always aligning the Hollywood Chamber with its own mission statement!
“And it has been gratifying to witness the great Hollywood comeback – first in fits and starts, then finally gathering steam and reaching a point where everyone can see what is happening as Hollywood has literally become one of the hottest real estate markets in Los Angeles.”
The Caucas Gala followed immediately after the Hollywood Chamber’s own Annual Economic Development Summit where developers convened to find out what’s happening in Hollywood. Billions of dollars have been invested in Hollywood and billions more are in the hopper. Since 2003, more than 6,600 housing units have been built here. Today, another 2,900 are under construction and there are another 7,200 units proposed. Over the last three years, more than a million square feet of commercial office space has been completed. Today, another 800,000-square feet is under construction – more than any other place in the county. Last year, three new hotels opened, with another three hotels under construction.
“I don’t believe even in Hollywood’s heyday, there was this much construction activity. There is no more exciting time to be in Hollywood than right now!”
Speaking about the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Gubler commented on the honor for him to follow Johnny Grant, as the emcee for this world-famous icon.
“I think Johnny would be pleased with what we have accomplished since he passed away more than 10 years ago. We signed up Variety as our media partner, which assures tremendous local coverage of the ceremonies, and through them, we now live stream the ceremonies, so anyone in the world can watch the entire program live. We have also stepped up our Walk of Fame Selection Committee to the next level. It used to be composed of business people representing the five categories in the Walk, but now we have a Selection Committee composed strictly of Walk of Fame honorees, which helps to raise the prestige of our selection process. I should mention that we are honored to have had your own Vin Di Bona as Chair of that Committee for the past three years. In addition, for the past two years, we have achieved a nationally broadcast Walk of Fame Honors television show, bringing even more attention to the Walk.”
The Walk of Fame is one of the things that truly makes Hollywood special.
“It all began back in 1953, when then-chair of the Chamber, E.M. Stuart, who was the manager of the Broadway Department Store, had an idea. He noticed that the tourists even back then were disappointed, when they came to Hollywood and didn’t see stars. So, he said we should give them stars, and that is how the idea for the Walk of Fame was born. It would take another seven years to make the walk a reality. First, they had to get the City on board with the idea. Then they had to figure out how to pay for it, and to decide what the stars would look like and how the honorees would be selected. And once the walk was created, they had to figure out how to perpetuate it and to add additional stars. On August 15th, we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first eight stars being laid, and we’re working to come up with something special on the occasion,” he said.
No one back then would have envisioned the Walk becoming the icon that it is today. They hoped for it to be a successful attraction for Hollywood …but they could not have foreseen the level of success it has achieved.
“We get calls all the time from around the world asking about the Walk. Different cities and countries have tried to copy it, but none have been as successful as we have. There is something special about Hollywood that no one else can replicate.”
Gubler has presided at nearly 300 Walk of Fame ceremonies, and participated in more than 600 ceremonies.
“For a kid who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, I would never have imagined doing this. George Clooney came to one of our ceremonies a few years back. At a break in the program, he leaned over to me and said, “This is a pretty good gig, isn’t it?” As I told him then, I am telling you today, “It has indeed been a great gig!”
The Caucus presents The American Spirit Award recognizing outstanding individuals who support, protect and promote the interests of storytellers including Producers, Writers and Directors. The Caucus is also proud to recognize outstanding individuals whose work and commitment exemplifies the American spirit including Distinguished War Veterans, Educators, Humanitarians and worthy Caucus members whose work makes us proud. Gubler was recognized along with four other distinguished honorees.
Jan Krawitz was honored with the Special Achievement in Educating New Filmmakers. She is a Film Professor at Stanford University and has been teaching and making films for forty years,.
John Baca was honored with the Caucus Distinguished War Veteran. He is a U.S. Army veteran who was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 2, 1971 and continues to be active in social causes, particularly related to Vietnam veteran’s issues and the plight of the homeless.
Richard A. Colla was honored with the Caucus Legend Award. He is an American film, television director and actor. His directorial credits include The Virginian, Battlestar Galactica, McCloud, Miami Vice, MacGyver, Hunter, Murder, She Wrote, Gunsmoke, Ironside, Trapper John, M.D. and other series.
Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson was honored with the Humanitarian Award Honoree. She served as Executive Producer on the long running talk show, Leeza. Since 2007, she has served as Executive Director of Autism Care and Treatment Today! (ACT Today!) which has helped over 1,400 families by paying for services they would otherwise not be able to afford.
Pictured from left: The Caucus Co-chairs Robert Papazian, Tanya Hart and honorees Jan Krawitz, Richard Colla, Leron Gubler, Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, John Baca and Executive Producer Vin Di Bona at the 12th Annual American Spirit Awards presented by The Caucus For Producers, Writers & Directors at Taglyan Complex, June 21, 2018. Photo by Marlene Panoyan.
About the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
For more than 97 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has provided leadership, business development resources, networking, and government affairs programs and services to keep the Hollywood business and residential communities safe, relevant and economically vital. Donelle Dadigan, is the Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2018-19, and Leron Gubler is the President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.