Lili Fini Zanuck
One of the more successful female producers, Zanuck, who has also begun a secondary career as a director, reached the top at a very young age. After a brief stint as a research assistant with the World Bank in Washington, DC, she moved to Los Angeles with the hopes of becoming a film editor. Shortly thereafter, she married producer Richard Zanuck, whom she had met on a blind date. Zanuck entered the industry as an unpaid researcher for her husband's partner David Brown, then assumed the full-time responsibilities of handling contracts, reading scripts and negotiating deals for The Zanuck/Brown Company. There, Zanuck helped develop "The Island" (1980), "Neighbors" (1981) and "The Verdict" (1982), before initiating and co-producing her first project, Ron Howard's hit "Cocoon" (1985).