The Writers Guild of America West has tapped David E. Kelley as this year’s recipient of the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television.
The kudos, to be presented at the WGA Awards ceremony on March 8 at the Beverly Hilton, is the guild’s highest award for TV writing and is given to scribes who have advanced the literature of TV and who have made “outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.”
The guild has also tapped veteran film and TV scribe John Gay to receive the Edmund H. North Award for service to the guild and professional achievement. He will be honored at the ceremony, as well.
“David E. Kelley has changed what we see on television,” said Victoria Riskin, president of the WGAW. “His writing is so unique and distinctive that it has redefined television drama. It’s a pleasure to reward his dedication and vision with the Guild’s highest honor for television writing, the Paddy Chayevsky Laurel Award for Television.”
Kelley created “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” “Chicago Hope,” “Boston Public,” “Doogie Howser M.D.” and “Picket Fences.”
He joined “L.A. Law” as a writer in 1986, and won three Emmys for writing/producing “L.A. Law” and the Peabody Award in 1987.
In 1999, Kelley garnered Emmys for both Outstanding Drama for “The Practice” and for Comedy Series for “Ally McBeal.”In March 2001, Kelley received the Producers Guild’s David Susskind Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gay previously received the guild’s Television Laurel Award in 1984 for outstanding achievement, its Morgan Cox Award in 1992 for service to the guild, and the WGAW service award in 1982.
“John Gay epitomizes what it means to be a great writer and a great member of the guild,” said WGAW prexy Victoria Riskin. “Not only is his body of work awe-inspiring, but he has given countless hours to the betterment of his fellow writers. It is with great pride we give him our highest honor, the Edmund H. North Award.”
One of his first scripts, “The Sentry” for “Lux Theater,” brought him a Writers Guild award nom. He also co-wrote, with Terence Rattigan, the screenplay for “Separate Tables,” for which the pair drew Academy Award and Writers Guild noms.
Gay, a member of the WGA since 1958, has served on the guild’s board of directors and on more than two dozen guild committees.
He has also been an officer of the guild’s pension plan and its health fund, president and VP of the guild’s credit union and a trustee of the Writers Guild Foundation.