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David Puttnam

From Academic Kids

David Terence Puttnam, Lord Puttnam of Queensway (born February 25, 1941) is a British film producer and politician. He sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords.

After an early career in advertising and acting as agent for the photographer David Bailey, he turned to film production in the late 1960s. His successes as a producer include Midnight Express, Chariots of Fire (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), Local Hero, Memphis Belle, and The Killing Fields and The Mission with Roland Joffé, mostly in association with Goldcrest.

He was Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Pictures from 1986 to 1988. During his time at Columbia he was criticised for concentrating on setting up lucrative production deals for his old colleagues and not on exploiting the studio's few box office hits. This strategic failure contributed to the sale of the studio to Sony.

He was knighted in 1995 and made a life peer in 1997. In 2002 he chaired the joint scrutiny committee on the Communications Bill, which recommended an amendment to prevent ownership of British terrestrial TV stations by companies with a significant share of the newspaper market. This was widely interpreted as being aimed at stopping Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation from buying Channel 5. When the government opposed the amendment, Puttnam brokered a compromise - the introduction of a "public interest" test to be applied by the new regulator Ofcom, but without explicit restrictions.

Lord Puttnam has been the chancellor of the University of Sunderland since 1998.

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