A tribute to Paris Barclay photo by Howard Wise

A Tribute to Paris Barclay

February 22, 2012 An African American Steering Committee Event

On February 22, the African American Steering Committee (AASC) presented a special evening in honor of Director Paris Barclay. Presently in in his fourth term as First Vice President of the DGA, Barclay was the first African-American officer in the history of the Guild. He also currently serves as a member of the Western Directors Council, the Creative Rights Committee, and chairs the DGA Political Action Committee. He is also Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee and a past Co-Chair of the AASC.

DGA Tribute to Paris Barclay
Scroll down to see video and photos from the event.

As a director, Barclay has helmed over 120 episodes of television series such as NYPD Blue, ER, The West Wing, Lost, The Good Wife, CSI, NCIS: Los Angeles, House, Smash, Glee, and Sons of Anarchy where he also currently serves as executive producer. He also directed the HBO movie for television The Cherokee Kid, the comedy feature Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, and a plethora of music videos with artists such as Janet Jackson, Bob Dylan, and the LL Cool J classic “Mama Said Knock You Out.” He has earned two Emmys and a DGA Award for his directorial work on NYPD Blue, and garnered an additional four Emmy nominations and nine additional DGA nominations for episodes of NYPD Blue, ER, The West Wing, House, Weeds, In Treatment, and Glee. Barclay has also received two NAACP Image Awards for producing, writing and directing the series City of Angels and directing episodes of Cold Case, both shows he also executive produced. In addition, Barclay has received other honors including four Peabody Awards and two Humanitas Prizes.

In front of a capacity crowd in DGA Theater One in Los Angeles, DGA President Taylor Hackford welcomed the audience. Hackford noted that evening continued the AASC’s proud tradition of Guild tributes to leading African American directors, adding Barclay’s name to a prestigious list that includes Debbie Allen, Maya Angelou, Bill Duke, Ivan Dixon, Stan Lathan, Gordon Parks, Sidney Poitier, Richard Pryor, Michael Schultz, and Melvin Van Peebles. “Tonight we will have the pleasure of hearing from many voices – actors, directors, Guild leaders and members of our entertainment community – each of whom have had the opportunity to work with Paris and have stories to share,” said Hackford. “I expect that like the man himself, the stories we hear will be highly entertaining, brimming with wit and humor, yet substantive and revealing of deeper truths.”

Hackford was followed by AASC Co-Chair Emeritus Carl Weathers, who spoke about the Committee. Then current AASC Co-Chair Abdul Malik Abbott introduced a retrospective clip package of Barclay's work he compiled and edited and Weathers narrated. Abbott also read messages from actors Viola Davis and Julius Tennon who worked with Barclay on City of Angels, but were unable to attend. There were also video messages to Barclay and the audience from AASC Co-Chair Oz Scott, actors Hill Harper (City of Angels), Danny Pino (Cold Case), Martin Sheen (The West Wing), and Bill Duke who collaborated with Barclay as a segment director on the film America’s Dream and was directed by him in an episode of Fastlane.

True to Hackford’s prediction, the stage was then graced by veritable army of special guest speakers, all of whom had informative, enlightening, and often hilarious stories to tell about having worked with Barclay in his capacity as director, producer or officer of the Guild. The speakers were: Actor/Comedian Bill Bellamy, who worked with Barclay on the series Fastlane; Actress Sharon Lawrence from NYPD: Blue; Director Karen Gaviola, who was hired by Barclay for the series Cold Case; Actor Jimmy Smits, who recalled Barclay’s Emmy and DGA Award-winning episode of NYPD: Blue; Director Walter Hill, who spoke about getting to know Paris as a colleague on the set; DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth who talked about his long association with Barclay as an officer of the Guild; Director Dianne Houston, who worked with Barclay on the series City of Angels; Director Michael Schultz, who Co-Chaired the AASC with Barclay; Actress CCH Pounder and Actor Michael Chiklis, who worked with Barclay on the groundbreaking drama The Shield; Director Kevin Bray, who was hired by Barclay for Cold Case; Actor/Rapper LL Cool J, who remembered starting out with Barclay in music videos and later reuniting with him on the series NCIS: Los Angeles; Actor/Comedian Sinbad, who spoke of Barclay’s directorial style on the movie for television The Cherokee Kid; Actor Ron Perlman, who spoke about Barclay’s work as a director and executive producer on Sons of Anarchy; Actress Sherri Saum and Actor/Director Glynn Turman, who spoke about being directed by Barclay on the series In Treatment; Actress Jane Lynch and Actor Kevin McHale, who recalled Barclay’s DGA Award-nominated episode of Glee; Actress Katey Sagal, who spoke about being directed to her Golden Globe Award-winning performances on Sons of Anarchy and Director/Producer Kurt Sutter, who spoke about sharing the Executive Producer’s job with Barclay on Sons of Anarchy; and Barclay’s brother, former National Black Arts Festival CEO Neil Barclay, who read a letter from the family.

After the tributes, Director Millicent Shelton called the guest of honor to the stage and they engaged in a brief conversation about his career. After the Q&A, Barclay was given the gift of a commemorative crystal plaque from the AASC presented by Activities Subcommittee Co-Chair, Nicci Freeman and Actress Dawnn Lewis, who worked with Barclay on The Cherokee Kid, sang a rendition of Cole Porter’s classic “I Love Paris in the Springtime.”

After joining the DGA in 1992, Barclay became a member of the African American Steering Committee in 1993 and co-chaired the group from 2000-2002. He joined the Western Directors Council as an alternate in 1997 and has served as a member since 1999. He was elected a National Board alternate in 1997 and to the Board as Third Vice President in 1999. In 2005, he became First Vice President. For his extraordinary services to the Guild and its membership, he and current DGA President Taylor Hackford were the recipients of the DGA’s Robert B. Aldrich Award in 2007.

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