Public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs was born on August 8, 1949 in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Classical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1967, she earned her B.A. degree in political science from Whittier College in Whittier, California in 1971.
After graduation, Boone Isaacs worked as a flight attendant for Pan American Airways. In 1977, she moved to Los Angeles, California and began working in publicity at Columbia Pictures, where she served on the publicity team for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The following year, Boone Isaacs was hired as coordinator of marketing and publicity at Milton Goldstein’s Melvin Simon Productions, where she served for five years and was eventually promoted to vice president. In 1983, Boone Isaacs was named director of advertising and publicity for The Ladd Company, where she worked on films such as Once Upon a Time in America, The Right Stuff, and the box office hit Police Academy. In 1984, she was named director of west coast publicity and promotion for Paramount Pictures. Later, she became executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount Pictures, and orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart. In 1997, Boone Isaacs was named president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema, and became the first African American woman to head a studio marketing department, where she promoted Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Wedding Singer and Boogie Nights. In 2000, she founded CBI Enterprises, Inc., and worked on publicity for The King's Speech and The Artist. In 2013, Boone Isaacs produced the multi-award-winning documentary Tough Ain't Enough: Conversations With Albert S. Ruddy, which highlighted the life and career of the two-time Oscar-winning producer. That same year, she was elected the thirty-fifth president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served in that position until 2017. Boone Isaacs was reelected in 2015, launching the initiative A2020 to increase the number of women and minority members to the Academy by 2020. In 2017, Boone Isaacs oversaw the development of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
Since 1987, she served as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was named representative of the public relations branch in 1992.
Boone Isaacs received Essence Magazine's Trailblazer Award in 2013. In 2014, she was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, received the African American Film Critics Association Horizon Award, and was named the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts O.L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence.
She is also the sister of film marketing and distribution executive, Ashley Boone, who passed away in 1994.
Cheryl Boone Issacs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2018.