April 14, 2024

News Release: October 05, 2004

Veteran TV Writer Irma Kalish to Receive Valentine Davies Award From Writers Guild of America, west

2005 Award Recipient

Veteran television writer and WGAw board member Irma Kalish will be awarded the Valentine Davies Award from the Writers Guild of America, west at the Guild's second-annual Honorary Service Awards luncheon held November 16, 2004 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

"Generously offering her time and talents to a wide range of community service, Irma lives and breathes the positive values of the Valentines Davies Award," said WGAw president Daniel Petrie Jr. "She is greatly loved and admired for the unique blend of wisdom, insight, compassion and good humor which she brings to bear on the challenges faced by the many organizations that benefit from her selfless dedication. All that she does brings honor to the Guild and to the writing profession."

A longtime trustee of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, Kalish has served on MPTF's board for 22 years (acting as immediate past vice chair), as well as on its myriad of committees, chairing the MPTF's Accreditation and Quality Assurance Committee, and the Executive Committee of the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Child Care Center of the Fund. Kalish also serves on the board of the MPTF Corporation.

With a focus on women's issues, Kalish is an active member and past president of Women in Film, a non-profit organization that promotes the professional growth of women in the entertainment industry. Having chaired the WIF Foundation in previous years, Kalish continues to serve on its board; she received WIF's Founders Awards in 1997. She is also a founding member of Women & Science, which serves as community spokespersons for the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, whose medical research benefits people in Israel, the U.S., and throughout the world. Kalish is also an executive member of the Association for Women in Communications, a professional organization that champions the advancement of women across all communications disciples. Kalish has received both its National Headliner and Far West Woman of Achievement Awards from the advocacy group.

An award-winning television writer/producer whose career spans several decades, Kalish first collaborated with her husband, Austin "Rocky" Kalish, on scripts for the popular Martin and Lewis Radio Show, later switching to TV for the comedy duo's Colgate Comedy Hour at a time when few women were writing TV comedy. Kalish's more than 300 TV scripts include My Three Sons, F Troop, Bob Newhart, Maude, Too Close For Comfort, and All in the Family. In addition, she served as story editor for Family Affair, Anna and the King, and The Brian Keith Show. Kalish has also served as executive producer/writer on hit shows including Good Times, Carter Country, The Facts of Life, and 227.

A WGAw member since 1964, who received the guild's prestigious Morgan Cox service award in 1993, Kalish is currently a member of the guild's board of directors (having served on the board for many terms beginning in 1977 to present, including vice president 1981-85), co-chair of CAP (Committee Advisory Panel, board committee chair, 1998-99), and an active member of the WGAw's current Negotiating Committee. With a long career of service at the guild that spans five decades, Kalish has served on numerous WGAw committees over the years which have tackled a variety of writer-related issues, including: Negotiating (1985, 1988, 2001), Age Awareness (1982-83, chair 1983-86), Basic Cable (1980-85), Committee Advisory (1998-current), TV Credits (1973-2002; vice chair, 1973, chair, 1974-75), Operations and Procedures (1981-82), Pension & Health Trustee Review (1997-2001), Plagiarism (1980-81), and Awards Show (1982; chair, 1983; producer, 1984). Kalish was also a National Council Delegate from 1981-85 and 1997-1999 (chair, 1997).

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Syracuse University, Kalish has been installed on the "Wall of Fame" at the Newhouse School of Communications and received the George Arents Pioneer Medal, Syracuse University's highest honor for alumni. Currently, Kalish and her husband are on the advisory board of Syracuse's College of Visual and Performing Arts. In March 2005, the couple is scheduled to teach a masters class at Newhouse. Currently, Kalish has written a novel scheduled to be published in 2005 and is at work on a screenplay, as well as developing projects for television.

The Valentine Davies Award is given to writers who have contributed to the entertainment industry, as well as the community at large, and who have brought dignity and honor to the profession of writing everywhere. Past recipients of the Valentine Davies Award include: Fay and Michael Kanin, Garry Marshall, Hal Kanter, Phil Alden Robinson, Norman Lear, Ray Bradbury, Alan Alda, Aaron Ruben, and last year's recipient, Neal Baer.