The Alumni in Residence program connects current HLS students with accomplished HLS alumni for one-on-one career mentoring and advice. You’re invited to meet with Debra Martin Chase JD’81 during her virtual office hours. Sign up for a 20-minute Zoom appointment.
Debra Martin Chase JD’81
Debra Martin Chase is an entertainment industry icon and trailblazer as the first African American female producer to have a deal at any major studio. She is also the first African American woman to produce a film that grossed over $100 million. To date, her films have grossed over a half billion dollars at the box office, and her work has garnered Academy Award, Emmy Award, NAACP Image Award and Peabody Award nominations. Her company, Martin Chase Productions, currently has an overall deal with Universal Television, a division of the NBCUniversal Television Group, and previously had one with The Walt Disney Company. Prior to that, Chase ran Whitney Houston’s BrownHouse Productions and Mundy Lane Entertainment, Denzel Washington’s production company.
Chase executive produces THE EQUALIZER TV series starring Queen Latifah for Universal Television and CBS. Her most recent film via her Martin Chase Productions banner is HARRIET, starring Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo. Chase has produced three beloved multi-film franchises—THE PRINCESS DIARIES, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS and THE CHEETAH GIRLS as well as SPARKLE, JUST WRIGHT, COURAGE UNDER FIRE and THE PREACHER’S WIFE. Her television credits include RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA, Lifetime’s MISSING, Disney Channel’s original musical LEMONADE MOUTH, HANK AARON: CHASING THE DREAM, LOVESTRUCK and ZOE EVER AFTER.
Chase graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College and the Harvard Law School. Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Chase practiced law at several major law firms and Fortune 500 companies in New York City and Houston.
Chase serves on the board of directors for B & G Foods, Inc., the boards of the New York City Ballet and Second Stage Theatre and the advisory boards of the African American Film Critics’ Association and The Mayor’s Fund of New York City and co-chairs the Athena Film Festival. She is also a member of both The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
View our calendar for upcoming AIR events and more information on visiting alumni. Students must reserve appointments in advance, and space is limited.
Contact Shannon Taylor in the HLS Alumni Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or accessibility needs.