Union Notables

Alan F. Horn    class of 1964


Alan Horn, 2010, photograph by Tim Raab, courtesy of Union College Department of Communications

As President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Bros. since 1999, it was Alan Horn who brought the unforgettable characters of the Harry Potter series from the pages of J. K. Rowling’s novels to the “big screen.”

After graduating from Union College in 1964 with a degree in economics, Horn served nearly five years in the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of Captain. Following that, he received his Master of Business Administration – awarded with distinction – from Harvard Business School and then spent two years in brand management with Procter & Gamble.

Horn has enjoyed a very successful career as a hands-on executive with experience in film and television in both the business and creative areas. Horn served as Chairman and CEO of Embassy Communications, a company co-owned by legendary producer Norman Lear. In 1987, he co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment, where he served as Chairman and CEO until taking on his current role. During his tenure, Castle Rock attained worldwide recognition for the most successful series in television history, Seinfeld, and for such Best Picture Oscar nominees as A Few Good Men, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, as well as other hit films including When Harry Met Sally and In the Line of Fire. In 1993, Castle Rock Entertainment was sold to Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and, with the merger of TBS and Time Warner Inc. in October of 1996, Castle Rock became part of the Warner Bros. family, with the Studio taking over Castle Rock’s worldwide film and television distribution in 1998

Under Horn’s leadership, Warner Bros.’ theatrical and home entertainment divisions have flourished. Among the films produced under Horn’s aegis are some of the Studio’s most popular and profitable, including the six films in the Harry Potter series to date, which in September 2007 became the most successful motion picture franchise in history. Others include The Dark Knight, I Am Legend, Get Smart, 300, Happy Feet, The Departed, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ocean’s 11 and its two sequels, the second and third Matrix films, The Last Samurai, The Polar Express, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, Watchmen, and Sherlock Holmes.

Horn is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Radio and Television Society and the Museum of Broadcasting. In 2004, he received the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation’s Pioneer of the Year Award, and in 2007 he was honored with the Harvard Business School’s Leadership Award. Most recently, Horn was the recipient of the Producers Guild America’s 2008 Milestone Award.

Horn serves on the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute; as a Vice Chairman of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); on the Board of Trustees for the Autry National Center in Los Angeles; and on the board of Harvard-Westlake School. He is also a member of the Harvard Business School Dean’s Board of Advisors, and a founding Board Member of the Environmental Media Association.

Horn and his wife, Cindy, have two daughters, Cody and Cassidy. His outside interests include a collection of Western art and Indian artifacts, tennis, bicycling, and chess. He also holds a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo. The featured speaker at Union’s 2010 commencement ceremonies, where he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, Horn told his audience to “Be a person of character. Integrity and honor are everything. Actions define your character, and your character will define the kind of life you have.”