Barry Kemp, one of the creators of the series “Newhart” and “Coach” and a producer of Universal’s “Patch Adams,” will receive the Valentine Davies Award at the Writers Guild of America’s 51st annual awards ceremony on Feb. 20.
The award is given to writers who have contributed to the entertainment industry as well as to the community at large and who have brought honor to the profession of writing, a statement from WGA West said. Past recipients include Garry Marshall, Charles Champlin, Ray Bradbury, Mike Farrell and Gary David Goldberg.
“Barry Kemp has brought laughter to millions of people through his television and film comedies,” said WGAW president Daniel Petrie Jr.
Kemp is on the board of America’s Media Council on Child Abuse, serves on the California committee of Human Rights Watch, and served on last year’s committee for the Los Angeles Sports Spectacular, which raises money for genetic research at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
In addition, Kemp and his wife, Maggie, are actively involved with On Your Feet, underwriting an annual event to raise funds to provide housing and jobs for the homeless, and with the Iowa Playwrights Foundation, where they fund a scholarship.
Kemp also provides support for the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Mothers Against Sexual Abuse and the Southern California Stroke Assn., among others.
Kemp began his career in 1977 as a writer for “Taxi,” earning an Emmy nomination and two Writers Guild nominations for his work. In 1981, Kemp was recruited by MTM to create “Newhart.” As exec producer for the first two seasons, he received two Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and a People’s Choice nomination. In 1987, inspired by his love of sports, Kemp created the long-running hit series “Coach.”
In 1997, Kemp’s Bungalow 78 Prods., in conjunction with Touchstone Pictures, produced “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.”
The WGA awards will take place in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and simultaneously in New York at Windows on the World.