Columbia College - from Chicago to LA with Love

Columbia College – Chicago to Los Angeles With Love

Columbia sign

November 17, 2007, was probably chilly and snowy in Chicago.  But in Los Angeles at Montmarte Lounge in Hollywood –site of Columbia College’s Impact Awards- the evening was only briskly cool.  Each year the Chicago based college, which teaches students the arts of film, writing, producing, directing, visual, communication and other medias, holds a fundraising event to honor a Windy City native who has made an impact on the entertainment industry. 

For 2007, Impact Award was given to prominent Chicago area actor, Jeremy Piven.

Jeremy Piven

The red carpet had many well-known Hollywoodites – Steven Pink, Courtney Hassen,Star Arnell, Eva Schawrtz, Cornell Taylor, Katherine and Shirley Kramer, Carmen Perez and Cupid Hayes.  

Eve Schwartz, Israeli producer

Jeremy is well-known for his Emmy Award winning role of Ari Gold, the fast talking, slick agent in HBO’s Entourage. Piven has also starred or been featured in over 40 films and numerous television shows.

actress Cindy Marinangel

 The evening was introduced by Cyndi Marinangel, best known for Ten Women and Forbidden Secrets, who introduced our host was alumni, entertainment reporter Steve Kmetko who previewed clips from many of Jeremy’s more well known films and shows that showed his talent and diversity. 

host -entertainment reporter alum Steven Kmetko

Although born in Manhattan, Jeremy was raised in Evanston, Illinois where his talented parents – Bryne Piven and Joyce Hiller Piven - had the Piven Workshop Theatre and he attended Evanston Township High School.  Jeremy learned his craft with other Chicago notables as Joan and John Cusak, Roseanna Arquette, and Aidan Quinn.  He and his buddy, John, with whom he has shared many movies, even roomed together for a while.  

Dean Warrick L. Carter, Jeremy Priven, Dr. Eric V.A. Winston, Vice President

Columbia College President Dr. Warrick L Carter talked about how excited the school was being the only program to have its semester in Los Angeles hosted at a studio lot. (CBS studios in Studio City.) The Los Angeles part of the program helps students develop their pitching, production. music and networking skills, giving them a jump start in their new careers.  

Columbia College Chicago is one of the largest and most diverse media and arts programs in the nation and nearly a third of its graduates attaining successful careers in Los Angeles.  Among the well-known alumni are producer Len Amanto ( Analyze This, Blood Diamond) , cinematographer Janusz Kaminksi ( Schindler’s List), comedian Andy Richter, rapper Common,  Michelle Monaghan  ( Mission Impossible III), animator Genny Tartakovky ( Star Wars: Clone Wars), editor  Peter Teschner ( Charlie’s Angels and Borat), and  producing partners Bob Teitel and George Tillman ( Barbershop and Roll Bounce) as well as writer Serita Stevens (The Forensic Nurse).

Patrica -alum winner of Deal or No Deal

The Piven Legacy-- Jeremy and his family—have given much joy to the entertainment industry over the years.  Dr. Carter  invited Jeremy’s friend, writer  Steven Pink ( Grosse Pointe Blank, America’s Sweethearts) to present the award to Jeremy.  

Steven Pink

Jeremy talked fondly about his days struggling in Chicago and says that he often goes back to his roots – the Workshop Theatre. As advice to those not there yet, he said, “It’s easy to get frustrated. There were so many times I could have quit.  If you want to do it, you need to have a healthy respect for the space occupied while you act.  Be in the moment. Have respect for and understand the work of those greats who have come before, such as Alan Arkin.”

 He also told actors to, “Stand up for yourself.  If you think you deserve a larger role, then show them how good you are.”  He said that with Entourage, Ari Gold has only one short scene and he took it over and expanded it.  “Manifest what you are capable of creating. You don’t always have to be praised for doing a good job.”

Currently, Jeremy can be seen in The Kingdom with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner.  His forthcoming films are a crime action flick, Rocknrolla, from Guy Ritchie and a Will Farrell produced comedy “ The Goods: The Don Ready Story”

Others who have been honored in the past are ex Paramount chief - Sherry Lansing, Virginia Madsen, Jim Belushi, Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, and director Charlie Carner.

For more information about the school and future award events go to

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