Barry Levinson's HBO film, You Don't Know Jack, about doctor-assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, has been nominated for an impressive 15 Emmy Awards. Levinson, ’67, directed the film, which received great reviews.
Academy Award-winner Levinson has won a total of three national Emmys over his career, once for directing the program Homicide, and twice as a member of Carol Burnett's writing team. He also won a regional Emmy as a writer/performer of comedy sketches for an LA-based variety series, The Lohman and Barkley Show.
More recently, he won the 2010 Laurel Award for Screen, which honors lifetime achievement in outstanding motion picture writing. Levinson received the award from the Writer's Guild of America in February.
“From Diner to Avalon, Rain Man to Tin Men, filmmaker Barry Levinson has long demonstrated a wonderful ability to create memorable movies that resonate with audiences by capturing a particular time and place,” said WGAW President John Wells in a press release.
Levinson credits his success, in part, to the guidance he found at SOC. “If artistic aptitude isn’t nurtured,” he says, “it doesn’t know what to do. You need some kind of mentor, some guidance. The fact that one professor at American University had enough interest in me led me to working in a practical situation. That opportunity opened the door.”
He has helped to open doors for today’s students, serving since 2003 as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and participating in the school’s Alumni Mentoring Program. He holds an honorary doctorate from AU for his work in film and television.
Another Alumni Mentoring Program participant, Danielle Gelber, ‘82, is sharing in the Emmy nomination excitement. As Senior Vice President of Original Programming for Showtime, she oversees the series Nurse Jackie, and Dexter, which are nominated for best comedy series and for outstanding drama series respectively. Gelber is also credited with developing the network’s critically-acclaimed, Emmy-nominated series Weeds, starring Mary Louise Parker.
Co-President of DreamWorks Television, the network television production arm of DreamWorks SKG, Darryl Frank, SOC/BA ’91, is the executive producer of the Showtime series United States of Tara which pulled an Emmy nomination for Toni Collette as best actress in a comedy. Under Frank, DreamWorks Television also produced the Emmy-nominated FX drama Rescue me, and was the co-executive producer on Taken which received the 2002-2003 Emmy Award for Best Miniseries.
Both Gelber and Frank also work with Summer in L.A., an intensive, 8-week seminar course featuring SOC's top alumni talent in the industry. SILA, developed by professor and Oscar-winner Russell Williams, gives upper-class and grad students an insider's view from the pros and a chance for first-hand experience through internships with some of the biggest names in the business. Frank has remained engaged at SOC in other ways, co-developing a Business of Television course for the SOC with professor Randall Blair.