DEBRA MARTIN CHASE (Producer) is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated motion picture and television producer. Her company, Martin Chase Productions, has been an affiliate of the Walt Disney Company for over seven years, making Chase the first African-American female producer to have a solo producing deal at a major studio.
Chase was a producer on "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." She also produced "The Princess Diaries" and its sequel, "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," and was an executive producer on the Lifetime series "Missing," which at the time had the most watched debut in the network's history. She served as an executive producer on "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," starring Brandy, Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg, which attracted over 60 million viewers, received seven Emmy nominations and won the Emmy Award for Art Production.
Chase is the executive producer of The Disney Channel's hit movie and music franchise "The Cheetah Girls," starring Raven-Symoné, Sabrina Bryan, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams and Lynn Whitfield. The premiere of "The Cheetah Girls 2" was the network's highest rated debut and launched a platinum-plus soundtrack, following the double platinum soundtrack for the first movie. "The Cheetah Girls: One World," the third of the franchise, debuts in August 2008. Additionally, she is the co-creator and producer of the double platinum-plus-selling "Byou," a dance/fitness workout DVD for teens and 'tweens, starring Sabrina Bryan and distributed by SONY BMG, that combines pop and hip hop movements with strength and cardio training to make fitness fun.
Chase was Whitney Houston's BrownHouse Productions producing partner from 1995 to 2000. She ran Denzel Washington's Mundy Lane Entertainment from 1992 to 1995, overseeing the release of "Devil in a Blue Dress" and executive producing, with Washington, the documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream," which earned Oscar and Emmy nominations, won a Peabody Award and the Crystal Heart from the Heartland Film Festival and was voted Best Documentary by the National Association of Minorities in Cable.
Previously, she executive produced "Courage Under Fire," starring Washington and Meg Ryan for director Ed Zwick. She co-produced "The Preacher's Wife," starring Washington and Whitney Houston for director Penny Marshall, a project Chase originated and developed at Mundy Lane.
Prior to Mundy Lane, Chase held several positions at Columbia Pictures, joining the studio in 1989 as an attorney and rising to Director of Creative Affairs.
Chase began her career as an attorney and worked at several major law firms and Fortune 500 corporations in Houston and Manhattan. She received her J.D. from the Harvard Law School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College. She serves on the Board 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 San Francisco-based Museum of the African Diaspora, the Board of Directors of the United Friends of Children, the Producing Mentor Board of USC's Peter Stark Program and the Advisory Board of the Heartland Film Festival.
In 2002, she was honored by Girls Inc. for inspiring young women. She has also been honored by Women in Film, the Corporate Counsel Women of Color, the Heartland Film Festival, the New York Times/Blackfilm.com, the I Have a Dream Foundation, the National Summit of Black Women Lawyers, and the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment.
In 2003, Savoy Magazine named Chase one of the 100 most influential Blacks in America and Essence Magazine named her one of the 50 African-American women shaping the world. In 2007, Black Enterprise Magazine named her one of the Top 50 Powerbrokers in Hollywood; and in 2007 and 2008, Ebony named her one of the 150 Most Influential Blacks in America. In May 2007, Chase received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College.