Director-producer recognized for feature writing

Barry Levinson has been tapped to receive the Writers Guild of America West’s Laurel Award for Screen, honoring lifetime achievement in outstanding writing for motion pictures.

Kudo will be presented at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Feb. 20 at the Century Plaza. Previous recipients include Horton Foote, Mel Brooks, David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Benton and Budd Schulberg.

From ‘Diner’ to ‘Avalon,’ ‘Rain Man’ to ‘Tin Men,’ filmmaker Barry Levinson has long demonstrated a wonderful ability to create memorable movies that resonate with audiences by capturing a particular time and place,” said WGA West president John Wells. “A rare triple threat in the industry – writer, director, and producer – Barry has been the creative force behind many of this era’s defining films.”

Levinson received three Oscar screenwriting nominations for “…And Justice for All” (with co-writer Valerie Curtain), “Diner” and “Avalon.” A six-time WGA nominee, Levinson has won WGA awards for “Avalon,” “Time Warner Presents: The Earth Day Special” and “The Carol Burnett Show.”

Levinson also won the Best Director Oscar for “Rain Man” and was nominated as a director and a producer for “Bugsy.”

Levinson’s other credits as a producer, writer or director include “Quiz Show,” “Donnie Brasco,” “Analyze This,” “Wag the Dog,” “What Just Happened,” “The Natural,” “Good Morning Vietnam,” “Sleepers,” “Jimmy Hollywood,” “Toys,” “Unfaithfully Yours,” “Best Friends” and “Inside Moves.”

He broke into the business writing for TV variety shows, including “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine,” “The Tim Conway Show” and “The Carol Burnett Show” and began working in features with Mel Brooks on “Silent Movie” and “High Anxiety.”

The Baltimore native returned to his home town in the 1990s to film the TV series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” which received three Peabody Awards and two WGA awards and Emmy for directing.

Levinson partnered with in the 1990s with Paula Weinstein, forming Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures. Under their production banner, the Levinson/Fontana Company, Levinson and Tom Fontana exec produced the HBO television series “Oz.”

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