Mike Marcus ‘67, has had a long and successful career in Hollywood, and he points back to how Beta Sigma Beta helped impact him along the way.
He’s had over 50 years of experience in the entertainment industry, working as an senior agent at CAA; serving as president and chief operating officer of MGM Pictures; and MAC Releasing, the feature film distribution company, which merged with ThinkFilm.
For the last 16 years, he has been Head of the Management Division of Echo Lake Entertainment. He is also involved with Penn State, serving on the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications dean’s advisory council, as well as chairing the board of Penn State’s Hollywood campus.
He points to two specific ways that Beta Sigma Beta was instrumental in his success.
“I learned how to work with people who were different from me by living in the fraternity house,” He said. “I’ve been in the people business for the last forty years, and it gave me a lot of background in dealing with different personalities — both those who are easier and those who are more difficult to work with.”
He also pointed to another, more unusual, way that Beta Sigma Beta helped him launch his career. “I was the poorest kid in my class by far,” he remembers. “And I was the concessionaire. I ran the Pepsi machine and the candy machine, sold party favors and sweatshirts. I decided to expand to other fraternities and started to sell things to them too.”
“Not only did that role help me hone my belief that I was good at sales, but it also staked me to the money I needed to move to California, buy a very, very used car, and put down my first and last month’s rent on rooming. Fortunately, I found an opportunity within just three weeks of moving to Los Angeles.” (He started out in the mailroom at a forerunner of the current ICM Partners in 1968, and was promoted to agent at the end of that year.)
So why Beta Sigma Beta? “I was a fraternity member in high school, so it was the next logical step for me,” he said. “And I felt more at home with the guys who were there, than I did at some of the other fraternities. They were the kind of people who I wanted to be like. Plus, they weren’t as raunchy and wild as some of the other fraternities.”
He says some of his best memories in the house were his pledge class friendships. “More than anything, they were so special. I visited some of them over summers, and Peter Sterling ‘67, Hank Woloz and I took a trip to California — a place where I’d never been.”
Today, he says, “I have been fortunate enough to be very successful and it’s important to give back, both to Beta Sigma Beta and Penn State.”
“There have been some recent problems with our fraternity, and very involved alumni have been extremely proactive to step up to fix those problems. That’s what it takes.”
“If you enjoyed living in Beta Sigma Beta, you need to give back. I’ve always been involved, am happy to stay involved, and give when I’m asked. It’s very important to give back.”
Without Beta Sigma Beta, I wouldn’t have had some of my best friendships that I’ve had since I graduated. They are very near and dear to me.