Gil Cates will soon become only the third person to receive the Directors Guild of America’s DGA Presidents Award.
Nod will be presented at the 57th annual DGA Awards dinner Jan. 29 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Award is bestowed by unanimous vote of former DGA presidents and the sitting president.
“There are few people in the history of the DGA who have matched Gil’s vision and influence on this organization,” DGA prexy Michael Apted said. “It is impossible to think of a single issue debated, program launched or battle fought on behalf of us all that didn’t have Gil’s handprint on it.”
Award was first presented in 1998 to former DGA president George Sidney and then in 2001 to former prexy Robert Wise.
Cates became a member of the DGA in 1960, joined the board in 1975 and served as president between 1983 and 1987. He’s been DGA secretary-treasurer since 1997 and chaired the guild’s negotiating committee at the last two negotiations, with the most recent concluding last September.
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Cates received the DGA Honorary Life Member Award in 1991 and the Robert B. Aldrich Award for service in 1989.
While Cates was president, the DGA fought against film colorization, leading to the National Film Preservation Act of 1988; negotiated the first low-budget contract in industry history; broke ground for its current West Coast HQ building; and staged its only strike, which lasted five minutes.
“The guild was and is a great part of my life,” said Cates.
Cates is currently producing the “77th Annual Academy Awards” show for ABC. It’s the 12th time he’s produced the kudocast.
He’s also producing director of the Geffen Playhouse and has received the Jimmy Dolittle Award for Outstanding Contribution to Los Angeles Theater and the Ovation Award for directing “Collected Stories.”
Cates produced and directed “I Never Sang for My Father” and “Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams” and directed “The Promise,” “One Summer Love,” “The Last Married Couple in America,” “Oh God! Book II” and “Backfire.”
He also directed or produced a number of TV drama specials.
Cates also founded the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television and served as dean 1990-98.