WGAW President Christopher Keyser explained why Zwick and Herskovitz were chosen for the honor: “Beginning in the 1980’s, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz were among a small group of writers who revolutionized the television drama. So much of what is on television today is a direct or indirect descendant of their seminal work, thirtysomething. So many writers of this generation were drawn to television because of what Marshall and Ed told us, in that show and then in show after show, it was possible to do – to write stories about real people, with honest and compelling emotional stakes, about what it feels like to be alive. All of us who have come after owe them a great debt of gratitude. We stand on the shoulders of giants.”
Zwick and Herskovitz will pick up their award at the 2012 Writers Guild Awards to be held on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at the historic Hollywood Palladium.
More on Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz [Courtesy of WGA]:
Under the long-running banner of their Bedford Falls Company, creative partners Herskovitz and Zwick have carved out a career as one of the most prolific duos in Hollywood, working together for three decades in both television and film as rare triple threats: often writing, directing, and producing the projects they create.
Bringing their signature stamp of edgy, articulate drama to the small screen, their shared television credits include co-creating, executive producing, and directing such acclaimed TV series such as thirtysomething, Once and Again, and My So-Called Life, and Quarterlife – one of the first original web series – as well as penning and executive producing acclaimed telefilms such as Extreme Close-Up (teleplay by Marshall Herskovitz, story by Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick), nominated for a Humanitas Prize, and the Zwick-directed Special Bulletin (teleplay by Marshall Herskovitz, story by Edward Zwick), the story of a reporter and his cameraman held hostage by terrorists, for which the pair received the Humanitas Prize in 1983.
Nine-time Emmy Award nominees as writers, producers, and directors, Herskovitz and Zwick have received four Emmy Awards, two for their work on thirtysomething (1988, Outstanding Drama Series, shared with Paul Haggis and Scott Winant; Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, Herskovitz shared with co-writer Paul Haggis for the episode, “Business As Usual”), as well as two Emmys for the TV movie Special Bulletin (1983, Outstanding Drama Special, shared with Don Ohlmeyer; and Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or Special).
Three-time WGA nominees, they have received a pair of Writers Guild Awards: one for the pilot of thirtysomething (1989, Episodic Drama, tied that year with another thirtysomething episode, “Therapy,” written by Susan Shilliday) and another for their work on Special Bulletin (1984, Original Drama Anthology), for which Zwick also shared a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials. For his work on thirtysomething, Herskovitz also received consecutive DGA Awards 1988 and 1989 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series. The pair received their second Humanitas Prize in 2001 for the TV family drama Once and Again, for their co-written episode, “Food for Thought.” In 2006, Herskovitz and Zwick received AFI’s Franklin J. Schaffner Award in recognition of artistic achievement.
On the big screen, Herskovitz and Zwick’s co-screenwriting credits include the recent romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs (screenplay by Charles Randolph and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz, based on the book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy), which the pair co-produced while Zwick directed, and the epic action film The Last Samurai (screenplay by John Logan and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz, story by John Logan), which the pair co-produced while Zwick directed, sharing a PGA nomination for Motion Picture Producer of the Year with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.
Zwick’s additional writing/directing credits include the WWII drama Defiance (screenplay by Clayton Frohman & Edward Zwick, based on the book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans by Nechama Tec), the story of Jewish brothers combating Nazi forces in occupied Poland in order to protect hundreds of Jewish refugees (which Zwick directed and produced, with Herskovitz serving as executive producer), as well as the hi-octane thriller The Siege (screenplay by Lawrence Wright and Menno Meyjes & Edward Zwick, story by Lawrence Wright), which Zwick also directed and produced.
Zwick’s other directorial screen credits include such acclaimed films as Blood Diamond, co-produced with Herskovitz, Courage Under Fire, Legends of the Fall, co-produced with Herskovitz, for which he received a 1995 Golden Globe nomination for Best Director – Motion Picture, Leaving Normal, the Civil War drama Glory, focusing on the Northern Army’s first black regiment (for which he received a 1990 Golden Globe nomination for Best Director – Motion Picture), and his directorial screen debut, the romantic comedy About Last Night.
The pair’s other producing credits include the films I Am Sam, for which they shared the PGA’s 2002 Stanley Kramer Award with producers Jessie Nelson and Richard Solomon, Traffic, for which they shared an 2001 Oscar nomination for Best Picture with producer Laura Bickford, and Shakespeare in Love, for which they shared a 1999 Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as a BAFTA Award for Best Film, with producers David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, and Marc Norman.
Born in Chicago in 1952 and a WGAW member since 1977, Zwick received an A.B. from Harvard University in 1974, and graduated with an M.F.A. from the American Film Institute in 1975. While still in college, he landed a writing gig as a journalist for Rolling Stone and soon after found work in television as a writer and producer on critically-acclaimed ABC-TV show, Family. He got his start directing such early ’80s TV movies as Paper Dolls and Having It All.
Also born in 1952 and a WGAW member since 1977, early in his career Herskovitz wrote for such hit TV shows as The White Shadow, CHiPs, and Family, as well as the series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In addition to helming multiple episodes of thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Once and Again, and Family, Herskovitz also directed the feature films Dangerous Beauty and Jack the Bear.
Named after one of the most influential writers in entertainment history, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television is the WGAW’s highest award for television writing, given to writers who have advanced the literature of television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer. Past Television Laurel Award recipients include Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, David Chase, Larry David, and, most recently, Diane English.
Source: Writers Guild of America, West – January 4, 2012