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February 8, 2013

Producer Andy Friendly Makes Major Donation to SCA

Friend and Alum Gives Direct Aid to Students

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is fortunate to have a strong roster of alumni who are eager to give back. Among them are SCA alumnus, producer and executive Andy Friendly ‘73 and his wife, actress Pat Crowley, who have created an endowment to help students who are struggling to complete their education. In January, Friendly augmented his existing gift to the School of Cinematic Arts with an additional $50,000 and renamed the fund the Pat Crowley and Andy Friendly Endowed Fund for Student Support.

Pat Crowley, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley and Andy Friendly

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of the wonderful team of friends and alumni supporting USC Cinema,” said Friendly. “When we discussed our estate planning, we wanted to make sure that we gave back to USC. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the school that gave me so much than giving the support directly to the students.”

After graduating from SCA, Friendly became a successful producer who went on to spearhead such television programs as The Tomorrow Show on NBC with Tom Snyder and Entertainment Tonight, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He later went on to become a senior executive, running prime time programming at CNBC and then onto King World/CBS, where he was president of programming/production. He continues to produce through his company, Andy Friendly Productions. Crowley made her name as a stage, film and television actress, appearing in films like Forever Female opposite William Holden and Hollywood or Bust with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. She starred in her own series Don’t Eat the Daisies and has guest starred in popular television programs for many years, from Happy Days, Charlie’s Angels and Columbo, to Friends, Cold Case and The Closer.

Friendly and Crowley wanted to support students who were struggling financially, including those who are unable to finish their final projects. “I taught as an adjunct professor for a couple of semesters when I left the corporate world, and I was very impressed,” explained Friendly. “I knew there were many students that didn’t have money to complete their projects and we wanted to do something to help.”

Since 2003, the Andy Friendly Endowed Fund has awarded 12 scholarships ranging from $1,000 - $5,000 to students representing all SCA divisions. This year’s recipients will receive their awards from the new fund that bears both Mr. Friendly’s and Ms. Crowley’s names.

Friendly, who also produced Richard Pryor’s last concert film Richard Pryor...Here and Now, along with various series for Tim Russert, Dick Cavett, Phil Donahue, Geraldo Rivera, Charles Grodin and Mary Madeline, offered a few words of wisdom for students trying to break into the industry. “I try to tell young people who are coming up to do something that will make a difference. Not just pure entertainment, but something that has meaning and can inspire, that can affect change, that you can feel you’re doing something valuable to improve the planet.”

“Success is also about finding something you love to do, then making yourself indispensable. My advice to young people is to pick something you love to do so that it never feels like work,” continued Friendly. “This is why I always push everyone I care about to find a company or person they want to work for and get in the door any way they can – as a runner or as an assistant - and be the first in and the last out, seven days a week. Be available 24 hours a day and let them know you’re the most reliable person in the company, someone they can depend on. Volunteer to do anything and everything, watch and learn, and if you do that, you’ll create trust and value for yourself. Do anything and everything, but do it better than anyone else.”