Film philanthropist – Millions to Library of Congress

David Packard, heir to the Hewlett-Packard fortune, has done more for film preservation over the last 20 years than any private citizen in history, the San Francisco Chronicle reported August 13.

Packard has given millions to the Library of Congress, the University of California at Los Angeles and the George Eastman House.

The jewel in Packard’s film-restoring crown is the Stanford Theatre, a 1925 movie house that Packard has restored and uses to show vintage movies. The theater shows a mixture of vintage mainstream fare and restored obscurities.

Packard became interested in movies at the age of 35, when a friend invited him to screenings of the Judy Garland films “The Wizard of Oz” and “Meet me in St. Louis.”

He became more and more interested in film, and as a board member of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation – his parent’s organization – he started giving grants to the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

His film philanthropy has expanded since then. He has paid for storage vaults at Eastman House, supported the American Film Institute, and is giving $20 million to restoring San Jose’s Fox theater so it can show movies and house the local opera.

Packard’s biggest donation was to the library of Congress. He spent between $6 million and $7 million to buy a building for film storage, cataloging and restoration.

For the full story, go to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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