View From the Plaza

Inter “View” from the Plaza: Jane Bay, Assistant to George Lucas for 35 Years

Jane Bay and I during her recent visit to La Fonda over Indian Market.

Jane Bay and I during her recent visit to La Fonda over Indian Market.

Jane Bay has worked for Lucasfilm for the past three decades. She is the author of Love and Loss: A Story About Life, Death and Rebirth and Precious Jewels of Tibet.  Now that she has retired from Lucasfilm, Jane is planning to pursue her career as an author and hopes to finish the current book she’s writing Growing Up Southern – Stories from the Attic of Childhood Memories, in the coming year.

Q. You have taken a lot of chances in your life—leaving college to become involved with the civil rights movement, leaving your first job in showbiz to work on Jerry Brown’s campaign, meeting the Dalai Lama and traveling to Tibet, and abandoning your initial plans to move to New Mexico to work with George Lucas. What experience has influenced your life the most?

A. The Civil Rights Movement and moving to New York. Growing up in the south, I was just blown away by New York and that there was no segregation. Everyone was together on the streets and they all seemed happy. When working in the city for NBC, I had a political awakening that widened my world.

Q.What’s changed for women in the film business since you started your career?

A. Women have made a lot of progress in breaking the glass ceiling but they are still fighting for everything. I mentored many women who have gone on to assume many different roles in the industry.

Q. You know I have to ask this one – what is it like working with George Lucas?

A. He was the most inspiring, generous, kind and dynamic person. He set the bar so high.

Q. Are you are Star Wars fan?  Favorite character?

A. Of course! Princess Leah.

Q. If someone were visiting Santa Fe for the first time, what are some of the not-to-miss places you would recommend?

A. La Fonda on the Plaza because it is the quintessential experience of Santa Fe. Whether you stay as a guest in the exquisitely remodeled rooms or come for dinner in La Plazuela Restaurant, you will be enthralled by the authentic art and cultural history of the hotel.

Q. If you could experience someone else’s life for one day, whose would it be and why? 

A. Georgia O’Keeffe. Her vision was so unique and I would just love walking through her footsteps. When I look up at the mesas that she painted—I could swear the sagebrush is still the same as her paintings.

Q. What is it about New Mexico that made you consider moving here?

A. New Mexico resonated with me—it is a place where I can have a connection to nature and the natural world.

Q.  What song gets stuck in your head most often?

A. As I was driving to Santa Fe from the Albuquerque airport, I was listening to Paul Simon’s Hearts and Bones.  The lyrics speak of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico.

Each time Jane Bay visits La Fonda, she adorns her favorite room with a vibrant collection of serapes, her extraordinary antique bottles topped with crystal crosses, blankets, pillows and throws. See photos below for some examples of her decorative vignettes. 

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10 Responses to “Inter “View” from the Plaza: Jane Bay, Assistant to George Lucas for 35 Years”

  1. Andy Ritch

    Jane’s reputation precedes her. She has watched the Hollywood industry really change. There ought to be a book there somewhere! I grew up in Mississippi, attended Ole Miss (during the Meredith skirmish), had a Daddy cotton farmer in the Delta (Clarksdale) so I can help her with her book. LOL. I can talk for hours about the Southern subtleties. Jane is a true compliment to her profession and also La Fonda.
    Wish I could meet her.
    Andy

    Reply
    • Jane Bay

      Dear Andy,
      A Southern gentleman after my own heart. My mother’s people were cotton and tobacco farmers in North Carolina. If you’re interested in reading excerpts from the new book GROWING UP SOUTHERN in the Stories from the Road section in the Archives. http://www.JaneBay.com I have another book in my head called THE MAGIC OF NEW MEXICO about my experiences in the Land of Enchantment during the past thirty-six years. I’m going to be the “writer in residence” at La Fonda in the future to finish SOUTHERN and be inspired to start on MAGIC. Hope to hear from you via my website. Thanks for your sweet comments. Jane

      Reply
  2. Brooke Dulaney

    I worked on Jerry Brown’s campaign in LA. Perhaps we know each other from then. I was
    involved with getting the celebrities for Jerry’s events. My name then was Brooke Karzen.
    I enjoyed reading your good story. Jenny and I are best friends and I have a close
    relationship with La Fonda.
    All the best,
    Brooke

    Reply
    • Jane Bay

      Dar Brooke,
      I worked with Jerry in the early years of his political career when he ran for the Junior College Board, Secretary of State and first campaign for Governor. It was a very small little group so I don’t think we’ve met, but now that I’m retired from Lucasfilm, I plan to spend a lot of time in Santa Fe at La Fonda and I hope you, Jenny and I can get together for tea sometime in Casita Juanita de La Fonda as I call my favorite room. Looking forward to meeting you. All best, Jane

      Reply
    • Jenny Kimball

      Maybe next time Jane is here the 3 of us can get together so you two can meet? Jane is fascinating!

      Reply
  3. Pedro Westerdahl

    Hi,
    lovely interview, Thanx!

    Is there any way one could get in touch with Ms. Bay?

    All the best

    Reply
  4. Stacey Hewitt

    Hi dear Jane — It is Stacey (Sandy) Hewitt from the early LucasFilm days in Marin County. I remember you fondly from my time in General Services working with Richard Ford and especially during the big flood and all that craziness. Oh, those parties at George and Marcia’s home were such fun.

    I am retired 5 years now and live in the Central Highlands of Mexico on the largest lake — Lake Chapala. I hope you will consider visiting some time and I’ll show you my little slice of Paradise.

    I know the La Fonda and was in Santa Fe last about 8 or 9 years ago — I believe they were having an annual artists’ retreat there at that time.

    So, please send me an email and let’s keep the friendship going. I always admired you and enjoyed our chats.

    Reply

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