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When I left work, Penny had no last name." Of course, that hasn't stopped the cast and crew from getting creative. "She really doesn't have one - unless they've been writing one over the summer break. I thought a shout-out to Les Moonves, the head of CBS, wouldn't be a bad idea. "Our prop master's last name is London and every once in a while he'll print ' Penny London' on something. He's just egotistical enough to assign her his last name." What do you think Penny's last name should be? Her mother, Tessa, was an early member of Richard Branson’s team at Virgin Records and became a respected executive who helped to create legendary music videos like “Sledgehammer,” and to launch MTV in Europe.She died of cancer just months after STX was founded in March 2014.Both Mc Glashan and Simonds found Watts unusually riveting as she spun a vision of creating a digital-age entertainment company making mid-budget movies at a time when Hollywood studios largely did not, the insider said.While Watts grew up in the fast lane of British pop music, that did not necessarily give her credibility in Hollywood.Watts had short, bleached blond hair, a British boarding school accent and an unmistakable personal style.“She’d wear the most expensive silk blouse but way too low cut, without a bra,” said one former employee.
In meetings, Simonds praised his young charge as an agent of change and a visionary executive to a point that made employees uncomfortable – particularly given her lack of experience.
Two insiders said that Watts was pushing back on Simonds’ unwelcome interest in her – such as asking to move to a separate office – and reported her displeasure to General Counsel Noah Fogelson, begging for protection.
“They’d be alternately lovey-dovey and hysterically angry at each other,” said one of the former employees.
But nothing was more unusual than Simonds teaming up with the then-26-year-old Watts in 2012 to lead an entertainment company when her only experience was as a financier or executive producer on two 2011 documentaries, “Bully” and “Sarah Palin: You Betcha.” From the start, many even inside STX remarked on the odd pairing.
Simonds was a strait-laced, married, wealthy, middle-aged man with a finance background, taking as his partner a loud and proud lesbian 25 years his junior, whose friends were the likes of singer Ariana Grande and hipster DJ Samantha Ronson.