April 14, 2024

News Release: January 03, 2007

Acclaimed Screen and TV Writer Larry Gelbart to Receive Valentine Davies Honor at 2007 Writers Guild Awards

2007 Award Recipient

Veteran screen and TV writer Larry Gelbart is slated to receive the Writers Guild of America West's prestigious Valentine Davies Award at the upcoming 2007 Writers Guild Awards on Sunday, February 11, 2007, recognizing his rich writing legacy and longtime service to the entertainment industry and community at large.

“The Valentine Davies Award recognizes service to the entertainment industry and to the community at large,” said WGAW President Patric M. Verrone. "We are presenting this award to Larry Gelbart not only for being a leader in both regards for decades, but because we know that he will give an acceptance speech at the ceremony that will bring down the house.”

A masterful writer adept in a wide range of genres, from comedy to drama and all in between, Gelbart has made an influential, enduring mark over the decades, contributing acclaimed work that spans the worlds of film, television, theater, and radio. He is perhaps best known for his ground-breaking work on seminal '70s TV touchstone M*A*S*H, as well as string of hit feature-film comedies, such as Tootsie and Oh, God!.

Having earned 13 Writers Guild Award nominations, Gelbart has garnered an eight WGA wins over the course of his writing career, including three Writers Guild Awards for
feature film comedies, including Oh, God! (Screen, Comedies Adapted from Another Medium, 1978), Movie, Movie (Screen, Comedies Written Directly for the Screen, co-written with Sheldon Keller, 1979), and Tootsie (Screen, Comedies Written Directly for the Screen, co-written with Murray Shisgal, 1983), as well as five television Writers Guild Awards for M*A*S*H (“Chief Surgeon Who?,” Episodic Comedy, 1974; “O.R.,” Episodic Comedy, co-written with Laurence Marks, 1975; “Welcome to Korea,” Episodic Comedy, co-written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, 1976), Barbarians at the Gate (Long Form Adapted, 1994), and most recently, the HBO telefilm, And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself (Long Form Original, 2004). Earlier in his screenwriting career, Gelbart received WGA nominations for such popular screen comedies as The Notorious Lady (co-written with Blake Edwards, 1963) and The Thrill of It All (screenplay by Carl Reiner, story by Reiner and Gelbart, 1964). In addition, Gelbart received the guild's prestigious Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television for lifetime achievement in 1981.

Gelbart received two Oscar nominations for his screenplays, Tootsie (Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, shared with Shisgal, 1983) and Oh, God! (Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, 1978). Having earned ten Emmy nominations, he has received two Emmy Awards, for his work on M*A*S*H (Outstanding Comedy Series, shared with producer Gene Reynolds, 1974), as well as Barbarians at the Gate (Outstanding Made for Television Movie, 1993), for which Gelbart also shared a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series of Motion Picture Made for TV the same year.

Gelbart's other screen credits include Neighbors (1981), Blame It on Rio (co-written with Charlie Peters, 1984), and Bedazzled (co-written with Harold Ramis and Peter Tolan, 2000). On the small screen, Gelbart has also contributed to annual Oscar telecasts, including the 57th and 58th Academy Awards; other TV credits include telefilms Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997), which earned him the PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Best Teleplay, Mastergate (1992), based on his novel, and TV series such as the sequel, After M*A*S*H, and United States, among other programs.

On stage, Gelbart's credits include the musicals, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (co-written with Burt Shevelove, 1966), for which he received an Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award and was later made into a 1966 feature film version, and City of Angels, for which he received the Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Musical and Best Book for a Musical, as well as his triptych of acclaimed theatrical productions, Mastergate, Floodgate, and Abrogate. Having first made his mark in radio, Gelbart's early credits include The Bob Hope Show, The Jack Paar Show, The Eddie Cantor Show, and The Jack Carson Show. During TV's Golden Age, Gelbart's writing credits included Caesar's Hour, The Bob Hope Show, The Red Buttons Show, and The Danny Kaye Show.

Among numerous accolades, Gelbart earned the coveted Humanitas Prize and Peabody Awards his work on M*A*S*H. In 1987, he received the Pacific Broadcasting Pioneer Award for Creativity and Achievement in Radio and Television. A prominent fixture in the entertainment industry, Gelbart is an active member of many guilds and other civic organizations; in addition to being a member of the Writers Guild since 1945, Gelbart is also affiliated with the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, the Dramatists Guild, the Authors League, PEN USA, ASCAP, as well as serving as a two-term board member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). In addition, he has also served on the Kennedy Center Honors Committee and taught as an Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern University (1984-85). In 1998, Gelbart was the first writer ever to be honored with a lifetime tribute at the U.S. Festival of Comedy Arts. In 2000, Gelbart was inducted into the California Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Gelbart's own humanitarian efforts extend beyond the small and silver screens - in 2001, he received the Citation for Distinguished Service from the American Medical Association, that organization's highest honor given to a non-physician.

The guild's 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 Valentine Davies recipients include Fay Kanin, Garry Marshall, Hal Kanter, Phil Alden Robinson, Norman Lear, Neal Baer, and Irma Kalish.