Tribute to Gene Reynolds

A Tribute to Gene Reynolds

May 17, 2009 A Special Projects Committee Event

On Sunday, May 17, 2009, the DGA Special Projects Committee presented a special tribute to DGA Past President Gene Reynolds in the theatre complex of the Guild's Los Angeles headquarters. The event was a salute to Reynolds' career that spans an amazing seven decades in the industry as an actor, director, writer, casting professional and producer.

The program featured testimonials from Reynolds' friends and co-workers including: Director/Writer/Executive Producer Larry Gelbart, Director/Executive Producer Burt Metcalfe and actress Loretta Swit who worked with him on the classic television series M*A*S*H; and Assistant Director and Unit Production Manager John Slosser and Actor Ed Asner who worked with him on the award winning series Lou Grant. Following the testimonials, the audience was treated to screenings of episodes from both M*A*S*H and Lou Grant.

Reynolds has been a member of the DGA since 1959 and served as President from 1993 to 1997. He has also served on the Western Directors Council and the National Board, is Treasurer of the Directors Guild Foundation, and a member of the DGA's Reality Committee. Gene chairs the Student Film Awards Committee, which presents a yearly competition he established for women and minority students from 69 film schools throughout the country and is a long time member of the Special Projects Committee. In 1993, Gene received the Robert B. Aldrich Award for Extraordinary Service to the DGA and to its Members.

Starting his career as a child actor at age 10, Reynolds appearing in films such as Henry King's In Old Chicago, Clarence Brown's Of Human Hearts, and Norman Taurog's immortal classic Boys Town. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted and served four years in the Navy. After WWII, he continued to act in feature films and television series such as Dragnet, Whirlybirds and I Love Lucy.

During an acting gig on the Hennesey series pilot, his old friend Jackie Cooper and producer Don McGuire gave Reynolds the opportunity that launched his directing career. He would go on to direct such highly acclaimed television series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Peter Gunn, My Three Sons, Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, F Troop, Hogan's Heroes, and the groundbreaking multicultural late '60s series Room 222, that he produced for two years as well as having directed the pilot and a number of episodes.

In the early 1970s, Reynolds scored a megahit with his direction of the pilot for the television series M*A*S*H, based on the classic film by Robert Altman. In addition to directing the pilot, Reynolds also executive produced M*A*S*H for five years, writing and directing numerous episodes. He received DGA Awards in 1973 and 1974 for M*A*S*H and also won Emmys for directing the series in 1975 and 1976. He had another hit with the Mary Tyler Moore series spin-off Lou Grant, for which he wrote, executive produced and directed. Lou Grant, earned Reynolds another DGA Award in 1979, and other DGA nominations in 1980 and 1981. That series also saw Reynolds nominated for directing Emmys four years in a row from 1979 to 1982.

In addition to episodic series television, Reynolds has directed and produced movies for television including In Defense of Kids, Doing Life, The Whereabouts of Jenny and Tales of the Hollywood Hills. He also directed episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Second Chances and Christy.

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