Linda Ellman (COM’75)
Learning something new every day
A COM alumna on supporting BU
by Julie Butters
Growing up in Beverly Hills, Linda Ellman was surrounded by the glitz of the entertainment industry—and didn’t want anything to do with it. “I saw directors and producers be hot and then not, make a lot [of money] and then lose a lot.” She wanted to be in news, which she says “never goes away.”
Ellman (COM’75) succeeded. She became West Coast producer of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw in Los Angeles—her team won an Emmy for coverage of 1989’s Tiananmen Square protests in China—and then an executive producer for NBC’s A Closer Look in New York. But she missed L.A., so she accepted a job at Entertainment Tonight. She was soon producing everything from the tabloid news show Hard Copy to reality TV and a kids’ game show—and, despite her childhood reservations about Hollywood, enjoying it. Along the way, she founded her own company, Ellman Entertainment, which has developed or produced content for companies including 20th Century Fox Television, Lionsgate, Fox Reality, and Lifetime.
Producing documentaries keeps Ellman, a three-time Emmy winner, in touch with her news heritage. On Native Soil, a 2006 Oscar-shortlisted film about the 9/11 commission report, is the work she’s most proud of in her career. She’s now producing Jock, which she says features “the pioneer female jockeys who, more than 40 years ago, fought for the right to ride.”
Ellman believes none of this might have happened without COM. She says she got her start in news while an undergraduate, as a consumer affairs intern at WBZ-TV in Boston. (One assignment had her straining mocha almond fudge ice cream to see which brand had the most almonds.) Ellman has been giving to COM for more than 30 years, and hopes future grads will discover, like her, that working in communications “is a way to continue your education…You learn something new every day.”
Originally printed in COMTalk.
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