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THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100

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    8. Donna Langley
    Donna Langley
    Co-Chairman, Universal Pictures

    This year Langley had her contract with Universal extended a year early through 2014 and domestic box-office revenue is up 28 percent from 2010. That's not bad personally and professionally, but the studio co-chairman says, "I'm looking forward to proving we can fully turn the studio around and be more consistent."

    Universal's year has had its ups and downs. The biggest up was Fast Five and Bridesmaids was a surprise success. The not-so-ups included The Dilemma and The Thing. "We've had some success, but not full success," says Langley, 43. "I'll feel better when we've proven we can accomplish what we've said we can accomplish."

    PHOTOS: THR's 2011 Women in Entertainment Power 100

    Langley's path to being a studio head is more colorful than the norm. She was born in Staines, England and took a chance on coming to America 20 years ago "to work in production somewhere." Through a fellow Brit, she found work as a hostess at the hot '80s club Roxbury, where she met Mike DeLuca. He got her a job at New Line.

    She considers DeLuca and Mary Parent, who helped her come to Universal, her mentors. "The thing I admire about Mike is he's able to stay connected to his gut instinct," says Langley. "And his batting average is as good or better as the people doing more traditional number crunching."

    At the moment, Langley is on maternity leave. Her second child, a boy, was born Oct. 19. "The thing I learned from the first one is your leave should really start just as you're coming back," she says. "The first three months are routine -- feeding, burping and eating. It's when they're 6 months old they become really interesting and that's when you don't want to leave them."

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