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Donor Story

"Films are history. Our motivation to preserve and restore them is because society's future is always going to be based on elements of its past, good and bad."
~ Barbara Roisman Cooper and Marty Cooper

Preserving the Past for the Future

The year was 1960, and it all started at the Daily Bruin. Barbara Roisman, an English and History major, was the women's editor. Marty Cooper, an English and Journalism major, was the editor. One day, Barbara spotted an announcement for a Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal, and she invited Marty.

Just like in a romantic movie, there were many more dates, graduation, and a happy ending. Marty recalls, "On a Saturday morning, I took my last final, Econ 113, and on Monday morning, I went to work at Disneyland as an editorial supervisor." With equal pace, Barbara promptly started a career in television commercials with advertising agencies.

This high-energy pair soon got married and moved to Santa Ana, closer to Marty's job, while Barbara made a career switch, obtained teaching credentials to teach high school English. She went on to become the first film history teacher in the Los Angeles School District.

A lifelong passion - Movies had already become a passion for Barbara and Marty, amplified by Marty's public relations work on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "A movie is a learning experience, whether it is about the fashion of the time, or women's lives, or the economics of a certain period," Barbara explains.

Building a legacy - "When it came time to review estate plans, the question was not 'should we leave something to UCLA,' It was, 'where and how much.' UCLA has been in our lives for a long time. My involvement stretches from being a student to teaching at UCLA Extension for the past 30 years," Marty explains. Their common passion for film preservation drove their choice: They would leave a transformative gift through their trust to the UCLA Film & Television Archive, a renowned treasure trove of over 350,000 motion pictures, 160,000 television programs, and 27 million feet of newsreel footage, second only to the Library of Congress.

In concert with their bequest, each year they fund the restoration or preservation of one film. "Marty chooses a film one year, and I choose the next year," Barbara explains. "The first year, I picked a newsreel about the foundation of Israel," Marty continues, "Barbara likes silent film, so the Archive staff showed her what they have from the 20s and 30s, and she picked." While Barbara agrees that when preparing a will or trust, one thinks about protecting loved ones, she says, "I really feel that if we don't take care of these films, that history will be gone. So this is a loved one, too!"

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UCLA Bequest Challenge

UCLA Bequest Challenge

100% toward goal!

Thank you to our generous UCLA alumni and friends who chose to remember UCLA in their wills or living trusts in support of the many campus units! We reached our goal of identifying more than 1,200 new bequest intentions to the university.

Each gift represents future scholarships and fellowships, new research breakthroughs, world-class patient care, a place for the arts to flourish, and so much more.

It is not too late to establish a meaningful legacy gift and join a philanthropic effort that will propel and support the university into its second century.
Please contact UCLA's Office of Gift Planning.