Debra Martin Chase, an African American movie and television producer, was born to Robert Douglas Martin, Beverly M. Barber Martin, in Great Lakes, Illinois, USA. She moved to Pasadena, CA when she was a child. Her early education was done in a local school while she completed her graduation from Mount Holyoke College in B.A. in 1977. Further, Debra received her J.D from Harvard Law School in 1981.
Debra was nominated for Emmy Awards twice. Debra has made her unique identity in the film industry and entertainment sector. She has the credit of being the first African American female television and film producer, who has her own producing agreement at an important studio.
Before entering the entertainment business, Chase was the attorney for several law firms. But even after pursuing a Law degree, Debra didn’t like it much and hence she worked as a consultant, a freelance writer after 1980s. She joined film business and worked with Columbia Studios. She ran ‘Mundy Lane Entertainment’ and ‘Brown House Productions’ of
Denzel Washington and
Whitney Houston respectively. After this experience, she formed her own company. For getting a break in Mundy Lane Entertainment, Debra picked up the courage to have a word with Denzel Washington at Columbia studios. In the later meetings, Washington hired Debra to run his production company.
The name of the company is ‘Martin Chase Productions’ and it has been affiliated with the Walt Disney Company for more than seven years. While working in her movies or television shows, Chase has mainly focused on delivering a peculiar message through them. In one of the interviews, Debra said that the works on big screen and small screen are not just for entertainment.
Debra has a huge influence on the young generation. Her creations include a message, which is portrayed in a perfect way and leaves an impact on people. The messages given through Debra’s productions are positive, mainly for women. In one another interview, Debra stated that there is innate power with our own selves. Also, she always aspires for the sky. The movie business is a tough business, and Debra is a very successful woman in that industry.
As mentioned earlier, Debra has mainly focused on the projects related to girls and women. She has helped few actresses to build their careers. It includes
Blake Lively, and America Ferrera.
Debra mainly came into lime light and in the audiences’ eye after the release of “The Princess Diaries”, “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” and “The Cheetah Girls”. She has also worked with top choreographers from Chicago.
Debra’s production, “The Princess Diaries” which featured Anne Hathaway and
Julie Andrews, earned $109 million in the box office. She also produced the bestselling book by Ann Brashares The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Debra was also the Executive Producer of the series named ‘
Missing’, aired in 2003, which was one among the most watched series.
Debra has not just made a very important contribution to the Industry, but also serves on several Boards, such as, Boards of Trustees of Columbia College of Chicago, The Board of Directors of the Center Dance Association of the Los Angeles Music Center, the Board of Directors of the United Friends of Children, and the Advisory Board of the Heartland Film Festival.
Having done the fascinating work for women, Chase was honored in 2002 by Girls Inc., Ebony magazine, The New York Times, The Heartland Film Festival, and the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment.
Debra was nominated for ‘Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special - 1998’ as an Executive Producer.