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June Baldwin

Entertainment executive June M. Baldwin graduated from Stanford University with her B.A. degree in psychology. She went on to receive her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975.

Following graduation, Baldwin served as clerk for the jurist Luther Swygert on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois. She then moved to Los Angeles and was hired as an executive for NBC, where she was responsible for, among other things, the day-to-day business transactions for The Tonight Show and Carson Productions, the television and motion picture production company founded by the late talk show host, Johnny Carson. At NBC, Baldwin became one of the first African Americans to enter the executive ranks of the entertainment industry. She then worked for Norman Lear, Quincy Jones and Aaron Spelling, where she held the position of head of business affairs at their independent production companies.

Baldwin went on to be hired as vice president of business affairs at United Paramount Network. She also worked in a similar capacity at Columbia TriStar Television from 2000 until 2001. In 2004, Baldwin was hired as director of business and legal affairs at KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station. Then, in 2010, she was promoted to vice president and general counsel of KCET. Baldwin has negotiated a variety of production deals, and has worked on such critically acclaimed productions as Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, A Place of Our Own, Los Ninos En Su Casa, Wired Science, and SoCal Connected.  In addition, for seven years she managed business and legal affairs for the PBS late-night talk show Tavis Smiley, and the primetime series Tavis Smiley Reports.

Baldwin has served on numerous boards, including the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, the Hollywood Policy Center, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the California Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood, the Archer School for Girls, Women in Film, Women in Film Foundation, Artists For A New South Africa, The Coalition for At-Risk Youth, NBC Credit Union, the Minority Health Institute, and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association.

June M. Baldwin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2013.

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St. Madeline Sophie

Ancilla Domini Academy

Shipley School For Girls

Stanford University

Harvard Law School

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Everything In Its Time

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Los Angeles



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Short Description

Entertainment executive June Baldwin (1950 - ) became one of the first African Americans to enter the executive ranks of the entertainment industry when she worked for NBC.



Columbia Tri Star TV

United Paramount Network

Spelling Television

Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment


Favorite Color

Blue, Greens

Timing Pairs

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of June Baldwin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - June Baldwin lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - June Baldwin describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her mother's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - June Baldwin talks about her father's young adult years

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - June Baldwin describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - June Baldwin talks about her parents' civic activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her early household

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - June Baldwin describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - June Baldwin describes the sights and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - June Baldwin remembers the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - June Baldwin recalls her decision to attend the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - June Baldwin describes her early interest in acting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - June Baldwin remembers race relations at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her religious experiences at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - June Baldwin talks about the prominent figures who inspired her

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - June Baldwin recalls developing her racial identity during the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - June Baldwin remembers her teachers and guidance counselor at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - June Baldwin reflects upon her time at the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - June Baldwin talks about creating a scholarship at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - June Baldwin recalls attending the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - June Baldwin remembers studying psychology at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - June Baldwin talks about Eldridge Cleaver and Timothy Leary

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - June Baldwin recalls visiting the Black Panther Party in Algeria

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - June Baldwin talks about the Black Power movement at Stanford University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - June Baldwin recalls her decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - June Baldwin remembers her classmates and experiences at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - June Baldwin remembers her challenges at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - June Baldwin recalls clerking for Judge Luther M. Swygert

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her early legal career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her experiences at Morrison and Foerster LLP

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - June Baldwin recalls working for Silverberg, Rosen, Leon and Behr

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - June Baldwin talks about joining Women In Film

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - June Baldwin recalls her entry into the entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her initial experiences at NBC

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - June Baldwin recalls working on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - June Baldwin remembers the black television executives in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about Michael Jackson's award at the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - June Baldwin recalls her proudest moments as a television business affairs executive

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - June Baldwin remembers working at Norman Lear's company, Act III Productions

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about working for Quincy Jones Productions, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - June Baldwin recalls working with Aaron Spelling Productions

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - June Baldwin remembers her music publishing venture with George Butler

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - June Baldwin recalls working at United Paramount Network

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - June Baldwin describes her work at Columbia TriStar Television

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her position at KCET in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about the merger of KCET and Link TV

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - June Baldwin describes the growth and changes at KCETLink

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - June Baldwin talks about her board memberships, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her board memberships, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - June Baldwin shares her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - June Baldwin reflects upon her career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - June Baldwin reflects upon her legacy in the entertainment industry

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - June Baldwin talks about her dating life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - June Baldwin talks about her international travels

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - June Baldwin describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - June Baldwin narrates her photographs







June Baldwin reflects upon her time at the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
June Baldwin recalls visiting the Black Panther Party in Algeria
Well, tell us the Shipley [Shipley School for Girls; The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] story.$$So obviously Shipley was a seminal event in my life. And for all of the, the challenges, I developed some wonderful friendships with a few girls there who are lifelong friends, like sisters. And they saw me; they--it didn't matter to them that I came from a different background or that I was black. And so they were my rocks, and we're still very, very close today. Also in 2003, Shipley gave me the distinguished alumna award, which was a huge shock to me because I had not had much contact at all with the school since I left. And I had an opportunity to tell my story, which I had never done. But I wanted them to know that I loved and appreciated the education that I got and that I saw it as a very positive thing. It was very difficult for my mother [Audrey McLaughlin Harris] to decide to send to me to Shipley. That was not something that we did in the black culture. You don't send your daughter off during her adolescent years to be part of a social experiment. And I'd never really realized how much that had weighed on my mother because, of course, that shaped the rest of my life. So they gave me the award, which was very lovely, and they honored and acknowledged my mother. And the school official said, "I don't think I would have had the courage to send my child away like that." And so I was very happy because although it's been my journey it was also my mother's. So fast forward, I ran into a Shipley classmate at Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California] whom I hadn't even been friends with at Stanford. Again, when I left Shipley I sort of didn't wanna have anything to do with Shipley. Fast forward, I run into this classmate, and she's a, a writer for The New York Times and she said, "I ha- it's great to see you. I have an idea and I'm wondering if you'd be interested." And the idea was to create a school sca- a class scholarship for an underprivileged girl of color. And she wondered if I thought that was a good idea, and if I would work with her on it. And I said oh, I think that's a great idea. So last May we went to our forty-fifth reunion, and we proposed this to the class, and that is what we're going to do. And sh- they have said that it was because of knowing me, and it was a time when their lives changed that that inspired her to want to do this scholarship. And so it just was so overwhelming for me to come out of the blue after all these years. Because I think when you make personal sacrifices--I mean I did it willingly and gratefully. I appreciated the opportunity. But at some point when you look at where race relations are today, and you say was it worth it--you know, was it worth it? And so this validates that. It was worth it. I mean, I decided it was worth it, but this is a, a, a really gratifying validation.$Now who was in the Panther [Black Panther Party] entourage, I guess, in Algeria besides Eldridge Cleaver?$$The names of the other people I don't know. I don't remember. What--I was very excited to be there. Eldridge Cleaver was extremely nice to me, very respectful. As I said he wanted to--me to stay on because I spoke French and be a translator. And I think as a result of my Shipley [Shipley School for Girls; The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] experience and my own sense of identity, I had the big Afro, very much wanting to claim my identity, and wanting to have a quote, unquote revolutionary experience. I was a big supporter of the Panthers. You know, they were doing wonderful work; they were feeding children; they were educating children; they were providing healthcare services. I mean, they were being portrayed as terrorists, but they were doing many wonderful things. And they were just really seeking social justice for a lot of oppression that was going on. And so I wrote my mother [Audrey McLaughlin Harris]. I also was still interested in being the actor, so I had tried out for 'Hair' ['Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical']. There was a--in Marseille [France]. And I was finished with school [Stanford University, Stanford, California], and so I was a quarter ahead of myself because I had gone a year straight through. And I didn't wanna graduate early, so I wanted to stay in Europe for another three months. And I thought I'll try out for this play. Maybe I'll get this role. And then I went to Algeria and was asked to be the translator and it--and at first really wanted to do that. And so I said to him, "Well, you'll have to write my mother." And so he did, and my mother still has the letter in pale blue stationary with the Black Panther insignia that jumps out at you. And he wrote her a very nice letter asking permission for me to stay on for a couple of months and be a translator. And by day three, there used to be--everyone would be upstairs in a room and listening, talking, and the--there were concentric circles and I was in the second circle. And someone got up and went down to do kitchen duty, and I--who was in the first circle--and so I moved up to be in the first circle. And then the person came back, and I wasn't aware the person was going to come back, and so I said, "Oh, I'm sorry I took your seat." And he said, "Oh no, sister, you didn't take my seat; it's the people's seat." And in that moment I realized, hm, everything is communal here, and there weren't--there weren't any women. I wasn't seeing any women. And all of a sudden I realized, hm, I might become communal property (laughter) if I didn't affiliate or associate with someone. And of course that wasn't what I was wanting. You know, I was wanting to have this political experience. And so I decided that I didn't wanna stay, and so I did not. Meanwhile, I would have come--had I gone back--I would have still gone back to France and then come back. In the meantime, my mother got the letter, and she and my brother [William James] were quite horrified. And they admired the Panthers. It's not that they, they didn't, but they didn't want their daughter there in Algeria with--$$Now this is--$$--Eldridge Cleaver.$$I mean 'Soul on Ice' [Eldridge Cleaver] had been published in 1960 [1968]--well, I know I read it in '67 [1967], so it was already out. And he was--he made some remarks about women that weren't really very--$$Misogynistic.$$--encouraging.$$Yes, yes, but that's what I'm saying. That's what was so fascinating, because he was not like that at all with me. He was just this amazing gentleman and intelligent and just lovely, lovely. Now I was only there three days, but that was my experience. And when my mother decided--my brother was, "You tell her to get on a plane and come home." And my mother was like, "No, no, I'm just going to use the truth and, and add something." And so she told me she was going to have to have surgery, and she really would like me to be there for the surgery and so would I mind coming home. I still hadn't heard about the play. And she said, "And if you get in the play, then I'll send you back;" so I went home. And she was having surgery, but it wasn't, you know, as serious as I had thought (laughter), and they just wanted to get me home so. And then I did not get into the play so I did not go back.$$Now did you--did you happen to talk to Timothy Leary?$$No, I did not.$$Or see him even?$$I got a glimpse, but no.$$And was he (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They, they had him in a room. You know, we were staying at a hotel, and we would come over and be there during the days and the evenings.