The MPAA said Tuesday that Glickman would have no comment at this time. The two men had remained in regular contact with Valenti continuing to remain active behind the scenes and keeping a full calendar at his office in Washington, D.C. “In an unofficial way, he’s always there to provide counsel to Glickman or me or any studio executive,” Fithian said. “He’s just as important as a background leader as he was out front.” During his 38 years heading the MPAA, which represents the interests of the major movie studios, Valenti devised the ratings system in 1968 that is still in place today. Prior to his MPAA career, Valenti was a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was riding in the presidential motorcade Nov. 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. Valenti was aboard Air Force One when Johnson was sworn in as president. Valenti, a diminutive man with a Texas drawl and white hair, had lately been working on his memoirs. One of the anecdotes he could share is about the day he announced his retirement as MPAA head to theater owners and movie industry figures at the 2004 ShoWest convention at Bally’s Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. After a prolonged ovation, the usually reserved Valenti choked up. “I didn’t realize how emotional this time would be,” he said. Earlier that day, he told reporters he had mixed feelings about it all: “When you have done something for so long, it’s difficult to tear yourself away from it.” [email protected] (818) 713-3758 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Jack Valenti, who spent nearly four decades as head of the Motion Picture Association of America, was hospitalized in Maryland after suffering a stroke, the MPAA said Tuesday. News of the stroke, which occurred last week, had been kept private and little information is being released about the condition of the 85-year-old Valenti. He is being cared for at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “His family tells me that doctors are encouraged by his progress to date,” Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer, a longtime friend of Valenti, said in a brief statement released by the studio. Valenti appeared robust at last month’s Directors Guild of America Awards, where he worked the red carpet with his wife, Mary Margaret, and Dan Glickman, his successor as MPAA head. Valenti told the Daily News at the DGAs that he was still keeping a breakneck schedule, which included frequent trips to the West Coast. Mary Margaret Valenti and their children asked Meyer to “express their deep appreciation of the outpouring of love, support and prayers.” National Association of Theater Owners President John Fithian, who considers Valenti a mentor and good friend, said Tuesday that he is optimistic about Valenti rebounding from this health crisis. “He’s the toughest leader I’ve ever met, so to me it’s a temporary setback,” Fithian said. “He’ll be giving speeches and writing books and inspiring people in no time.” Valenti officially announced his retirement from his job as president and chief operating officer of the MPAA at the ShoWest convention three years ago this month. He served for an additional six months before being succeeded by Dan Glickman, a former secretary of agriculture under President Clinton.