Throwback Thursday: In the '90s, a Contract Kept Stacey Snider From Steven Spielberg

Then Universal chairman Snider celebrated 'A Beautiful Mind's' four Golden Globe wins with the film's star Russell Crowe (left) and producer Brian Grazer at the studio's post-Globes party in 2002.

"I needed 10 more years before I could even think of handling a job like that," recalls Snider of the big offer she got from Spielberg two decades ago

This story first appeared in the Nov. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

It's hard to say goodbye, even for Hollywood moguls. Where Stacey Snider is concerned, that challenge is something Steven Spielberg has experienced on both ends: first in the early '90s, when he tried unsuccessfully to bring her to Amblin (then-Sony Pictures head Alan Levine declined to let her out of her TriStar contract), and this year, as she waited out her DreamWorks contract for her new job at 20th Century Fox.

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Spielberg had met Snider while his Amblin Entertainment was developing The Mask of Zorro for TriStar. "The offer was for Kathleen Kennedy's and Frank Marshall's job," recalls Snider, now 53, of the position she was up for while president of production at TriStar (Kennedy and Marshall were leaving to form their own film company). "And, frankly, when my bosses said no, I was both disappointed and relieved. They were legends. There were stories about Kathy running to a plane through a hurricane to make sure the crew got off an island safely. I would be under my desk in the fetal position. I needed 10 more years of seasoning before I could even think of handling a job like that."

Snider eventually would work for Spielberg, but not before a stint as chairman of Universal Pictures reporting to Ron Meyer, whom she'd met in the '80s when she was at a $117-a-week job at the Triad talent agency and he was at CAA. "I thought she had all the right ingredients to be successful in this business," says Meyer, now vice chairman of NBCUniversal. "When I got to Universal, there was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted her to come here and be part of the team we were putting together." Snider left Universal when her contract expired in 2006 to become CEO of DreamWorks, where the married mother of two daughters oversaw a successful run of films that included Lincoln and The Help. But recent years have seen the studio struggle, and on Nov. 3 Fox announced the end of the long goodbye: Snider is now co-chairman of 20th Century Fox, reporting to film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.