BEYA Alumni Consultant for Box Office Smash Hit
By USBE Online
Aug 19, 2013, 15:09
"Lee Daniels' The Butler made #1 box office movie this past opening weekend with $25 million, thanks in large part to your support," noted retired United States Coast Guard (USCG) Admiral Stephen Rochon, one of the film's consultants.
Lee Daniels' The Butler tells the story of a White House Butler who served seven American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man's life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler and Oprah Winfrey as his wife. Academy Award nominated Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS) directs and Emmy-award winning Danny Strong (GAME CHANGE) wrote the script. The fictional Cecil Gaines is based on Eugene Allen who worked at the White House from 1952 to 1986. Allen started as a "pantry man," was promoted to butler, and then Maître d'hôtel.
"The scenes in the kitchen and the joking and the butlers' quarters; all that's pretty authentic," Adm. Rochon told CBS in an interview for the site.
Rochon met Allen, the real life butler, when he came to visit him at the White House. "He was actually shocked when I extended my hand and reached out to him and told him what an honor it was for me to meet him," Rochon said to CBS.
Rochon ran the executive mansion for four years for presidents G.W. Bush and Barack Obama. executing all major events at the White House and preserving the nation's most historic house. He was named director of the Executive Residence and White House chief usher by President George W. Bush in March 2007, the first African-American to hold the position.
Only the second African American to achieve the rank of admiral in the Coast Guard, Rochon led the USCG Personnel Management Directorate in Washington, D.C. He began his career in the enlisted ranks before being commissioned an Ensign in 1975. Rochon is a passionate student of history. He wrote and produced a video documentary honoring the late Alex Haley, USCG (Retired), famous author of the book "Roots." He spearheaded the posthumous awarding of the Gold Lifesaving Medal for the all-Black crew of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station during their daring rescue in 1896 near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He also led the effort to award the Gold Lifesaving Medal to six New Orleans mariners for their bravery during the 1969 fire and sinking of the S.S. Union Faith on the Mississippi River. Prior to his White House assignment, he served as acting assistant commandant for Intelligence at the Coast Guard headquarters.
Rochon left the Coast Guard on March 9, 2007, and began his service at the White House on March 12. In 2008, he appeared on the cover of US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. Adm. Rochon resigned as chief usher in October 2011 to work in the Department of Homeland Security. He has almost 40 years of public service. The admiral is a 2013 Career Communications Group (CCG) Hall of Fame inductee.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler made #1 box office movie this past opening weekend with $25 million, thanks in large part to your support," noted Rochon. "So those who have not seen it, yet, can make it an even greater second week."