The Quiet Lion of Hollywood
Early this week, I went to Hollywood for the first time in ages. Early in my career, I worked in real estate in what, at that time, was one of the roughest, seediest, and stinkiest communities in Los Angeles. Hollywood was just beginning to pull out of a decades-long slump, but it wasn't for the faint of heart. When I joined the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 2002, the elders in the neighborhood spent the majority of time talking about the Old Hollywood that had long since faded away.
Contrast that with today, where gleaming new developments, luxury condos, and a revitalized entertainment community compete for space and prestige.
The credit for this sweeping change in fortune goes to multiple people, but not least, a quiet, unassuming man named Leron Gubler. As the President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber, he speaks for the diverse business community, while overseeing public landmarks like the Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Next week, Leron is retiring, and I'm more than a little maudlin about it.
He has led and supported countless campaigns to help support businesses, combat community homelessness, ensure neighborhood safety, encourage new developments and promote Hollywood, not just as a community but as a brand. You recognize him even if you don't realize it, as he is nearly always being photographed kneeling next to an actor, musician, director, or producer as they have received one of the highest honors within the entertainment community, a Star on the Walk of Fame. As George Clooney once said to him, "This is a pretty good gig for you."
What has always been remarkable about him, though, is all the things he is not. In a community filled with raging egos and oddities, Leron has always been a stalwart, solid square. And, like the most cunning and patient of political operatives, he has shown remarkable savvy in steering this vibrant collection of entertainment venues, production bigwigs, hotshot developers, and wannabe stars with a steady, quiet hand. He is unfailingly polite, proper, and gracious, and is one of the best people I've ever known.
Congratulations on a fantastic 26 years, Leron. Hollywood will miss you.