The Directors Guild of America has selected James Burrows and Robert Butler as the first recipients of a new DGA Award: the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction.
“For those out there who’ve wondered what kind of impact a television director can have on the medium: Jim Burrows and Bob Butler provide the answers,” said DGA president Paris Barclay.
“That’s why we’re beyond thrilled to establish a new award, and to inaugurate it with two men who have had an incomparable influence over decades of precedent-setting television directing,” said Barclay. “They’ve shaped the history of television in ways too numerous to calculate, including directing the pilots for some of the most iconic television shows ever.”
Barclay noted that Burrows will soon direct his 1,000th TV episode and cited “Taxi,” “Cheers,” “Friends,” “Will and Grace” and “The Big Bang Theory” as his key titles.
“Bob set the tone and broke the rules on pilots for ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘Hill Street Blues’ and ‘Moonlighting,'” Barclay said.
“Between the two of them, there are very few people in America who haven’t laughed, cried and/or cheered while watching their work. They have truly changed the face of television.”
The DGA already has a Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction. That award has been given to 34 directors, starting with Cecil B. DeMille in 1953.
“I am honored and touched to receive this inaugural DGA lifetime achievement award in television directing. I’m proud to accept this award in conjunction with Robert Butler, who I respect for his incredible work in television,” said Burrows. “To be lucky enough to work with great writers and actors is a blessing, but this is unbelievable.”
“Burrows-Butler is a great pair,” Butler added. “To be DGA-recognized is truly meteoric.”
The awards will be presented at the 67th Annual DGA Awards on Feb. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.
The Awards will be presented at the 67th Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.
Burrows has directed episodes of more than 100 series including “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Lou Grant,” “Taxi,” “Caroline in the City,” “Two and a Half Men” and “2 Broke Girls.” He has directed the pilots for more than 50 series, including “Taxi,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Friends,” “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
Burrows won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series four times and the Primetime Emmy for directing five times.
Butler began his career in 1960 with three episodes of “Hennessey.” His credits include “Twilight Zone,” “The Defenders,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Gunsmoke” and “The Fugitive” and pilots for “Hogan’s Heroes,” the initial “Star Trek,” “Batman,” “Remington Steele,” “Hill Street Blues” and “Moonlighting.”
Butler joined the DGA in 1959 and served 11 consecutive terms on the DGA National Board starting in 1985. In 2001, the DGA honored Butler with the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in recognition of his service to the Guild and its membership.