March 5, 2023

News Release: February 18, 2003

David E. Kelley to Receive WGAw's Paddy Chayefsky Television Laurel Award

2003 Award Recipient

Prolific writer David E. Kelley will receive the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television from the Writers Guild of America, west at the annual WGA Awards ceremony, March 8, 2003.

The Chayefsky Laurel is the guild's highest award for television writing, given to writers who have advanced the literature of television through the years, and who have made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer. Previous recipients include Steven Bochco, Madelyn Pugh Davis & Bob Carroll Jr., Jess Oppenheimer, Larry Gelbart, Rod Serling, Carl Reiner, and last year's joint recipients, Glen & Les Charles.

"David E. Kelley has changed what we see on television," said Victoria Riskin, President of the WGAw. "His writing is so unique and distinctive that it has redefined television drama. It's a pleasure to reward his dedication and vision with the Guild's highest honor for television writing, the Paddy Chayevsky Laurel Award for Television."

David E. Kelley is the mind behind some of America's most distinctive television series. As creator of the Emmy, Peabody and Golden Globe Award-winning shows Ally McBeal and The Practice, the critically acclaimed dramatic series Chicago Hope and Boston Public and the Emmy award-winning drama series Picket Fences, which also received a Humanitas Prize, Kelley's writing and executive producing style continues to intrigue television viewing audiences.

Kelley was nominated for Writers Guild Awards five times for writing or co-writing episodes of L.A. Law during his tenure there, received an additional nomination for Ally McBeal. In 1996, he received the Paul Selvin Award for a two-part episode of Picket Fences.

Born in Waterville, Maine, Kelley graduated in 1979 from Princeton University, where he was captain of the hockey team. Before venturing into the world of entertainment, Kelley was a practicing attorney in Boston. While still a lawyer, he wrote the feature film From the Hip, which brought him to the attention of L.A. Law co-creator Steven Bochco. He joined L.A. Law as a writer in 1986, became co-producer the following year, and supervising producer during the show's third season. During his tenure with L.A. Law, Kelley won three Emmys for writing/producing. In addition, he won the prestigious Peabody Award in 1987 and earned five nominations from the Writers Guild of America. While with L.A. Law, he also co-created with Bochco the popular series Doogie Howser, M.D.

In 1999, Kelley garnered Emmy's for both Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series -- an unprecedented feat. In March 2001, Kelley received the Producers Guild's David Susskind Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the TV Guide Award's inaugural Brandon Tartikoff Award. He was the subject of an October 1998 tribute sponsored by the Museum of Television and Radio, and was named a Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame Honoree. He received the Television Showmanship Award from Publicists Guild of America and the prestigious Humanitas Prize. Kelley has also been honored by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and is the recipient of the Monte Carlo Television Festival's first Showman of the Year Award, as well as the Casting Society of America's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Paddy Chayefsky (1923-81) was one of the most highly acclaimed writers in the history of television. His stories -- many of which represented the viewpoint of the common person and satirized large institutions -- brought him recognition in the theater, television and films. Probably his best known television play was Marty (1953), which was remade as a film two years later, when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1955. In later years, Chayefsky worked exclusively for films, receiving two additional Academy Awards for his writing of The Hospital and Network.