Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Release #221-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Mary Lasher, Mayor's Press Office (212) 788-2958
Julianne Cho, Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (212) 489-6710, x230


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani this evening honored leaders in the film and television industry at the 17th Annual Crystal Apple Awards ceremony at Gracie Mansion. This year's honorees were David Chase, George De Titta, Tom Fontana, Regis Philbin, Edward Pressman, Ron Schwary and Darren Star.

The Mayor was joined by Patricia Reed Scott, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting; and Elliot Cuker, CO-Chair of the Mayor's Advisory Council for Film and Television.

The Crystal Apple is awarded annually by the City of New York to industry leaders in film and television who have made outstanding progress in their fields and notable contributions to the City's production industry. The Crystal Apple is donated to the City by Tiffany & Co.

Mayor Giuliani said, "This year New York City has enjoyed record-breaking growth in the television and film industry. With several new successful programs launched this year and more to come next year, New York City continues to be the Entertainment Capital of the World. This evening we pay tribute to seven individuals who have contributed to our City's success: David Chase, George De Titta, Tom Fontana, Regis Philbin, Edward Pressman, Ron Schwary and Darren Star. On behalf of all New Yorkers, thank you for your unmatched contributions to the entertainment industry."

Commissioner Pat Scott said, "The quality of work of today's honorees is exceptional. The work they have done in New York is distinguished by original and superior storytelling. These seven gifted professionals are among the chief reasons for New York's unparalleled success over the last few years."

This year's event was sponsored by Variety and The Davidsohn Group.

2000 Crystal Apple Awardees

Following are brief biographies of the individuals awarded this year's Crystal Apple Awards for their outstanding contributions to the film and television industry:

David Chase

Creator of the award-winning HBO series The Sopranos, David Chase wrote and directed the entire first season of this popular show, which has already captured 4 Golden Globe awards, 4 Emmys, 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Peabody. He was a writer and producer of Northern Exposure and The Rockford Files, which won the 1976 Emmy for Best Drama. He went on to write and produce the ABC movie of the week Off the Minnesota Strip, which won him the Emmy for Outstanding Writing and the WGA Award. He made his directorial debut with Alfred Hitchcock Presents and he wrote, directed and executive produced I'll Fly Away. I'll Fly Away was nominated for several awards, including the Emmy and Producers Guild Award.

George De Titta

George De Titta, President of Local 52 Studio Mechanics of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) has dedicated 13 years to expanding New York's role as an international production center. The IATSE is comprised of audio and video specialists, and prop, shop and special effects professionals, among others. Mr. De Titta began as a set decorator for commercials in 1955, moving on to feature films between 1970 and 1992. Among his many New York credits are: Fatal Attraction, Hair, Prince of the City, Fame, Ragtime and Saturday Night Fever.

Tom Fontana

Tom Fontana is the Executive Producer of the hit HBO series Oz, which is produced in New York, and recently produced The Beat on UPN. Oz has won three Cable Ace Awards, including one for Best Drama. Fontana earned the 1993 Emmy Award for Writing, two Writer's Guild Awards, three Peabody Awards and four Television Critics Awards for his work on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street. As a writer/producer on St. Elsewhere, he was honored with two Emmys, the Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize and the Writers' Guild Award, among others. Tom Fontana has also produced numerous plays in New York.

Regis Philbin

Host of the runaway ABC hit series Who Wants to be a Millionaire, New York native Regis Philbin remains the charismatic CO-host of ABC's Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, now in its eleventh season. He has been nominated for Emmy awards seven times as the show's CO-host. Philbin's prolific television career began with his first talk show The Regis Philbin Show on WGTV-TV San Diego. At the national level, Philbin replaced Steve Allen on Westinghouse's syndicated late-night talk show, marking his first experience as a national host. He served as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show and helmed The Regis Philbin Show, a daily 30-minute program which received an Emmy for Outstanding Daytime Variety Series. Philbin has worked as a reporter, substitute anchor, and sportscaster at Channel 8 in San Diego, and as a permanent anchor and feature reporter at Channel 10 in San Diego.

Edward R. Pressman

CEO and President of Edward R. Pressman Films, Ed Pressman has produced more than fifty motion pictures over the past twenty-five years. His New York credits include Oliver Stone's Wall Street, Kathryn Bigelow's Blue Steel, Barbet Schroeder's Reversal of Fortune, Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, Harold Becker's City Hall, James Toback's Black and White and Mary Harron's American Psycho. He has received achievement awards from the French Cinematheque, the Museum of Modern Art, London's National Film Theatre, Pacific Film Archives, and American Film Magazine, which ranked Pressman as the best producer of the 1980s based on a nationwide poll of American film critics.

Ron Schwary

Producer/Director Ron Schwary achieved success in an inspiring climb from extra, to assistant director trainee, to producer. He produced Robert Redford's New York film Ordinary People, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture along with Best Picture Awards from the New York Film Critics, the National Board of Review and a Golden Globe. Among Schwary's other New York credits are Sydney Pollack's Tootsie, Absence of Malice, Meet Joe Black, Sabrina and Random Hearts, Batteries Not Included, Martin Brest's Scent of a Woman and Barbara Streisand's The Mirror Has Two Faces. Most recently Schwary was the Executive Producer with Glenn Gordon Caron on CBS's Now and Again. He also directed for the series.

Darren Star

Creator of the award-winning HBO series Sex and the City, Darren Star also created and executive produced the well-known hit series Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210. Produced in New York, Sex and the City captured two Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe Awards in its first season. He was also creator of the Manhattan-based series Central Park West. Darren Star sold his first screenplay Doin' Time on Planet Earth at the age of 24, and went on to write screenplays for Warner Brothers, including If Looks Could Kill. Star's new series The Street has just been picked up by Fox for 12 episodes and will be produced in New York City.

Films Shooting on Location in New York City

Some current and upcoming features shooting in New York City are: 3AM directed by Lee Davis, starring Forest Whitaker and Pam Greer; Double Whammy directed by Tom DiCillo, starring Elizabeth Hurley, Denis Leary and Chris Noth; Running in Cars with Boys directed by Penny Marshall, starring Drew Barrymore; All That Glitters directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall, starring Mariah Carey; Phone Booth directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Jim Carrey; Animal Husbandry directed by Tony Goldwyn, starring Ashley Judd; Serendipity directed by Peter Chelsom, starring John Cusack; and Unfaithful directed by Adrian Lyne, starring George Clooney.

New York City Based Prime-Time Television Shows

New York prime time shows currently being produced include the hit show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? for ABC, starring Regis Philbin; Law & Order Special Victims Unit for NBC, created by Dick Wolf; Third Watch also for NBC, created by John Wells, co-creator of ER. These three series, along with Law & Order and three hit HBO series -- The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Oz -- return in the new season.

Six additional new shows are also underway: Dick Wolf's newsroom drama Deadline is scheduled to air on NBC, along with Ed, a one-hour primetime series developed by David Letterman. Joining these shows are Darren Star's new series The Street, picked up by Fox for 12 episodes; a new Sidney Lumet series for A&E, which has been picked up for 13 episodes; Madigan Men, a half hour sitcom for ABC starring Gabriel Byrne; and Welcome to New York, a half-hour sitcom for CBS starring Christine Baranski.

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