Actor, producer and author Henry Winkler will serve as master of ceremonies for the 18th annual USC Scripter Award ceremony to be held Saturday, February 11, 2006 on the University of Southern California campus. Hal Kanter, who has lent his humor to all 17 prior Scripter ceremonies, returns for the sixth time as grand emcee.
The annual USC Scripter Award is a literary award that honors the best adaptation of a book (or short story) to film and recognizes both the author(s) and screenwriter(s). The award was founded by the Friends of the USC Libraries in 1988.
Only traditional or animated English-language feature films based on a single book, novella, short story or graphic novel (excluding plays and foreign language works) are eligible. Films must be released domestically within the prior calendar year, January 1 - December 31.
Hosted by the Friends of the USC Libraries, the Scripter Award Selection Committee is comprised of Writers Guild of America members, Academy Award winning and nominated screenwriters, authors and film industry executives.
Past winners include Mystic River, Seabiscuit, The Hours, A Beautiful Mind, Wonder Boys, The English Patient, Sense and Sensibility, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler's List, Fried Green Tomatoes, L.A. Confidential, A River Runs Through It, Awakenings, Accidental Tourist, A Civil Action, The Hurricane and 84 Charing Cross Road.
Henry Winkler is best known for his decade-long portrayal of Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli on the ABC series Happy Days, a role for which he earned two Golden Globe awards and three Emmy nominations for best actor, as well as the status of pop-culture icon.
He has a recurring role on the series Arrested Development and Crossing Jordan, and will co-star this fall with Stockard Channing in the CBS sitcom Out of Practice.
Other comedic guest appearances include Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy and The Drew Carey Show. Winkler showed his versatility as an actor more recently by appearing on such shows as Third Watch, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Practice, for which he received an Emmy nomination.
He also continues to voice Norville the Bird on the award-winning animated children's series Clifford: The Puppy Years, for which he recently received an Emmy for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program at the 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.
On the big screen, he has been seen in the films Heroes, Night Shift, Holes, Down to You and The Water Boy, among others, as well as an uncredited but pivotal role in the 1996 horror hit, Scream. Currently, Winkler has two films in post-production: Unbeatable Harold (based on the Randy Noojin play) and The Kid & I.
While Winkler continues to perform on stage, television and film, he remains active as a producer and a director. Winkler produced reunion specials for both Happy Days and Dallas with his partner Michael Levitt, executive produced Hollywood Squares for two years, and has directed for numerous television series and films, including the shows Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, Clueless and Dave's World, and the movies Cop and ½ and Memories of Me. In 1983, he formed JZM Productions to develop quality children's television programming.
In 2003, Winkler began writing a series of 10 children's novels - Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Under-Achiever - with his writing partner Lin Oliver. The books are inspired by Winkler's own educational struggles due to learning challenges. There are more than one million of the books in print. The seventh Zipzer book, Summer School! What Genius Thought That Up?, was published in April 2005.
"It is such a delight for me to return as emcee of the Scripter Awards," Winkler said. "Excellent writing is what we live by in my profession, and I am thrilled to be part of an event that celebrates those who create the words."
Hal Kanter was the head of the Emmy-winning writing team of The George Gobel Show. He also wrote scripts and special material for such comedy legends as Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Kanter made his film directorial debut with I Married a Woman, followed by Elvis Presley's first starring role, Loving You, in 1957, and Once Upon a Horse, a Western parody starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin in 1958.
Kanter was the creative force behind the popular 1968 sitcom Julia, a sociologically important effort in that it was the first weekly TV program to star a young black woman, Diahann Carroll, in a non-subservient role. During the 1970s, Kanter became executive producer of All in the Family.
"What began as an innovative literary awards and nutritious dinner 18 years ago has become a glorious USC tradition for sophisticated film fans and book readers," Kanter said. "I am so honored to be asked by the Friends of the USC Libraries to join their team. I look forward to showing up again."
Kanter continues to be a prolific on-camera interviewee in retrospective documentaries devoted to film and TV comedy, and he also has scripted more than 30 Academy Award shows.
The annual black-tie Scripter gala, hosted by the Friends of the USC Libraries, is held in the Los Angeles Times Reference Room of the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at USC. Event tickets and tables will go on sale in January 2006. Tickets are $500 each and table sponsorships are $6,000, $11,000 and $30,000. Proceeds benefit the Doheny Library Preservation Fund.