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In Conversation: George Stevens Jr.
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Theater Look-In: Thurgood
George Stevens, Jr. has achieved an extraordinary creative legacy over a career spanning almost 50 years. He is a writer, director, producer, playwright and author. He has enriched the film and television arts as a distinguished filmmaker and is widely credited with bringing style and taste to the national television events he has conceived, including “The Kennedy Center Honors,” which is taking place for the 33rd time this December.
As a writer, director and producer, Stevens has earned many accolades, including 13 Emmys, two Peabody Awards for Meritorious Service to Broadcasting and eight awards from the Writers Guild of America. As writer, director and co-producer of 1990’s Separate But Equal, starring Sidney Poitier, he earned an Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series, the Christopher Award and The Writers Guild of America’s Paul Selvin Award for writing that embodies civil rights and liberties.
In October President Obama named Stevens to be Co-chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
In 2008 Stevens made his debut as a playwright with Thurgood, which opened at the historic Booth Theater on Broadway in April 2008. The play had an extended run starring Laurence Fishburne as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and recently played to sold out audiences at the Kennedy Center and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Stevens was executive producer of The Thin Red Line, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. He co-wrote and produced The Murder of Mary Phagan, starring Jack Lemmon, which also received the Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series. Stevens won two Emmys for the 1994 documentary, George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin, which depicted the wartime experiences of his father – one of the most highly regarded directors of all time. He produced an acclaimed feature length film about his father, “George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey.”
Stevens is the founder of the American Film Institute and during his tenure, more than 10,000 irreplaceable American films were preserved and catalogued to be enjoyed by future generations. In addition, he established the AFI’s Center for Advanced Film Studies, which gained a reputation as the finest learning opportunity for young filmmakers.
In 2006, Alfred A. Knopf published Stevens’ Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age – the first book to bring together the interviews of master moviemakers from the American Film Institute’s renowned Harold Lloyd Master Seminar Series.
Stevens’ vision has fostered excellence in filmmaking, established lasting institutions and found new ways to honor artistic achievement.