Janet C. Jacobson ’81 was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and a pioneering entertainment lawyer. She passed away on January 23, 2014, at the age of 57.
Born in 1956, Jacobson was raised in Vermont and in Scarsdale, N.Y. She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University and a Harlan Stone Fiske Scholar at Columbia Law School.
Jacobson started her career as an assistant district attorney in New York City, working for longtime Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. She then moved to Frankfurt, Garbus, Klein & Selz, where she specialized in entertainment law. Jacobson went on to serve as in-house counsel at Balthazar Pictures and Scala Productions Ltd., establishing a reputation in European film acquisition and development through deals involving companies such as Miramax and Canal Plus.
Jacobson spent the bulk of her career at Hallmark Entertainment/RHI Entertainment, where she was vice president of legal and business affairs. There, she structured production finance and production arrangements with television distributors and broadcasters. A talented linguist, she helped to negotiate groundbreaking film production finance deals in Germany, as well as in Hungary and other Eastern European countries. In 2005, she founded Film Borders, Inc., a legal and financial consulting firm for film and television industry clients.
Jacobson is survived by her husband, James H. Wildman; her father, Julius, and her stepmother Joan; her siblings, Jeannie, Wendy, and William; her stepsons, James and Andrew; and six step-grandchildren.