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Worcester Academy to Host Hollywood Royalty Cass Warner

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Hollywood Producer and Director Cass Warner

Worcester Academy will host old school Hollywood royalty on Sunday, April 28, as Cass Warner, granddaughter of Hollywood movie mogul Harry Warner, presents a screening of her acclaimed documentary, “The Brothers Warner" (2007). The film will be shown at 6 p.m. in the Academy’s Lewis J. Warner Theater, with remarks by Ms. Warner before the screening and a Q&A afterwards at 7:30. Attendees will also have an a opportunity to interact with Ms. Warner at a reception scheduled from 8-8:30.. The screening is free and open to the public but reservations are requested by registering online.

Famous Family Ties

Cass’s visit marks the return of a member of this famous family to the Worcester Academy campus for the first time in more than 20 years. Cass’s son, actor Cole Hauser, filmed a dance scene in the Academy’s old gym while working on the set of the movie, “School Ties (1990),” which also starred Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck

The Warner Family ties to Worcester Academy go back much further, however, to the 1920s when Cass Warner’s uncle, Lewis (son of Harry, then Warner Brothers Studios president), attended the Academy. A graduate of 1928, Lewis was Harry’s heir apparent to the business. All of that changed with Lewis’s death less than three years after his graduation from Worcester Academy.

His death “changed history,” according to Ms. Warner.

Worcester Academy’s magnificent Warner Theater, a grand movie palace-styled building constructed during Hollywood’s Golden Age, was in fact a gift to the Academy from Harry Warner in memory of his son.

An Award-Winning Documentary

The award-winning and emmy-nominated “The Brothers Warner,” provides an intimate portrait of the scrappy rise to fame of the legendary Warner Brothers, four in all – Harry, Abe, Sam, and Jack. It details personal tragedies and battles, including Lewis’s passing, which ultimately sets in motion an epic betrayal by one of the brothers.

Cass directed, wrote, produced, and narrated the film as an entry into the PBS American Masters series. The film has won numerous awards, and Cass has won the prestigious HBO Films Producer Award, and was on the Emmy’s nomination list as a Director in 2009. Warner Home Video is distributing the DVD, and it has been included as a bonus DVD in 70th anniversary “Casablanca” edition as well as “The Humphrey Bogart Collection.”

"It's a unique educational experience for our students. This movie documents, in an educational way, the rise to success of immigrant brothers and the angst that punctuates their American journey. The story of American immigration is a story that our students study in depth and one that reflects the character of the city of Worcester its own development. In this case, Cass Warner, the storyteller herself, is on hand to provide valued insights that would not otherwise be known about this production and to enrich the conversation about immigration and its value to society today," says Neil Isakson, Worcester Academy Director of External Communications.

Carrying on a Family Tradition

Cass initially wrote her family’s saga as a book that was published in 1993 with the same title. It has been a best seller ever since.

Cass Warner, the founder and president of Warner Sisters Inc. is a third-generation filmmaker. In addition to her aforementioned grandfather, her father was writer/producer, Milton Sperling, who was nominated twice for an Academy Award, which is why she uses Cass Warner Sperling on her creative projects.

Warner Sisters carries on the original Warner Bros. motto – making films that “educate, entertain and enlighten.”

In addition to that, it's a celebration of Worcester history and culture. It's our chance to teach and to learn about a "First Family" of American culture and to indulge our collective interest in movies and celebrities, long an American pastime. Just look at all of the interest in the city recently concerning the movie being made here with Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, and Christian Bale. It was Harry Warner and others in the Warner family who made this country's movie industry what it is today. In the case of Cass Warner, she is "old school" Hollywood royalty and the event will connect attendees with Hollywood's Golden Age. It's just plain fun to imagine a time in our past when the history of Worcester Academy, and Worcester, and the Warners intersected. How cool is that?" remarks Neil.

A favorite on-going project is “Conversations With Cass,” a series of thoughtful, one-on-one conversations with some of today’s most recognized actors and other notable personalities. These interviews are forming an inspirational library for her non-profit, “The Dream Factory.” Excerpts from the series have been aired on The Starz cable channel.

Her recent feature documentary project on Dennis Hopper is called “Hopper: In His Own Words,” which recently won “The Critics Award” at a festival in Bologna, Italy.

For more information on this event please click here. Worcester Academy is located at 81 Providence Street in Worcester.


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