×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Anita Addison

Network TV exec

Anita Laraine Wharton Addison, a pioneer African American network TV exec, died suddenly in New York on January 24. She was 51 years old.

At the time of her death, she was a producer at Paramount Television and had just finished directing the pilot for “Manhattan Valley” for KCET.

Born in Greensboro, N.C., Addison began her career as a journalist working at People, Money, Fortune and Time. She became a research analyst at Paramount before her promotion into dramatic development.

A longtime network TV executive, she was senior VP of drama development at Lorimar starting in the late ’80s, and then at Warner Bros. Television, continuing with Warner Bros. as an independent producer until 1995.

She was part of the Leslie Moonves team that revitalized CBS when Moonves moved from Warner Bros. to the Eye, where from 1995-1998 she was VP of drama development. Skeins developed during her tenure included “Sisters” and “It Had To Be You” for which she served as executive producer, as well as “Midnight Caller,” “MacGyver,” “Call to Glory,” “Early Edition” and “EZ Streets.”

Addison resigned her CBS position to pursue producing and directing full time, and worked on such series as “Family Law” and “Judging Amy” and as executive producer of “That’s Life.” Oprah Winfrey chose her to direct “There Are No Children Here,” a television film based on Alex Kotlowitz’s best-selling book about the challenges facing poor children in the inner city. Her next television movie, “Deep In My Heart,” earned Anne Bancroft an Emmy in 1999. In 1989, Addison also received an Academy Award nomination for her short film “Savannah.”

She was also a directing member of the Playwright Directing Unit of the Actors Studio.

Anita Addison was a gift to our industry,” said Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS. “She was a creative force whose passion for the product infused energy and excellence into everything she did. Wherever Anita worked, and whatever projects she worked on, she inspired the creative efforts of those around her.”

She received several honors for her civic work, including the Humanitas Certificate and a Leadership Award from Girls Inc. for projecting positive role models and images for women and girls.

Addison is survived by partner David Byrd, a sister and a brother.

Contributions may be made to The Grace Lutheran Church Building Fund, 1315 East Washington St, Greensboro, NC 27401; The Best Friends Animal Society, 500 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah 84741-5000 and the Teaching Tolerance Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104.

More Scene

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor of GLAAD founder Vito Russo. The annual award goes to openly [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

  • David Furnish, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron

    'Rocketman': Paramount Previews Footage of Elton John Biopic

    “Rocketman” is ready for lift off. Paramount Pictures threw a cocktail party Monday night to preview 15 minutes of the upcoming Elton John biopic, set for release on May 31, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the legendary rock club where John made his U.S. debut nearly 50 years ago. The footage featured pieces of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content