AFI Conservatory 2017 Honorary Degree Recipients
Carol Burnett is an American icon. Actress, comedian, playwright and author, her unique presence has illuminated stage, page and screen — most notably in the timeless THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017.
Born in 1933 in San Antonio, TX, and raised in Hollywood, Burnett was bitten by the performing bug in an acting class while studying journalism at UCLA. She took her talent to New York City, making her stage debut in nightclubs, where she was spotted by talent bookers for THE JACK PAAR SHOW and THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. The exposure gained from performing on these shows led her to Broadway as the lead in the original production of "Once Upon a Mattress."
Burnett continued to find even greater success on television, debuting THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW on CBS in 1967. Driven by the show's witty writing, talented ensemble and Burnett's enduring charisma, the sketch comedy series was a runaway hit — running 11 seasons and 279 episodes — and it went on to nurture a prolific career cherished to this day in the hearts of television and film audiences.
Burnett's film credits include Robert Altman's A WEDDING (1978), Alan Alda's THE FOUR SEASONS (1981), John Huston's ANNIE (1982) and Peter Bogdanovich's NOISES OFF (1992). Burnett has also memorably guest-starred on television series including GLEE, HAWAII FIVE-0, HOT IN CLEVELAND and LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT. She will next be seen in the ABC pilot HOUSEHOLD NAME, executive-produced by Amy Poehler.
Burnett has received six Primetime Emmy® Awards from 23 nominations, a Kennedy Center Honor, five Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Life Achievement Award.
Marshall Herskovitz is an acclaimed multi-hyphenate — a director, writer and producer par excellence whose powerful stories echo on screens of all sizes.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Herskovitz attended Brandeis University before moving to Los Angeles to study Directing at the AFI Conservatory. While at AFI, he met Edward Zwick, his longtime creative partner. Together, in 1976, Herskovitz and Zwick went on to become directors, producers and writers on the popular TV series FAMILY. They next collaborated on the television movie SPECIAL BULLETIN (1983), which earned them both Primetime Emmys® for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Drama Special.
Herskovitz has directed, written and produced some of the most beloved TV series of all time — often collaborating with Zwick — including THIRTYSOMETHING, MY SO-CALLED LIFE, ONCE AND AGAIN and NASHVILLE. He has also gone behind the camera to direct films including JACK THE BEAR (1993) and DANGEROUS BEAUTY (1998).
Herskovitz has produced many films directed by Zwick, including LEGENDS OF THE FALL (1994), THE LAST SAMURAI (2003), BLOOD DIAMOND (2006), DEFIANCE (2008), LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (2010) and more. They earned a Best Picture Academy Award® nomination for producing Steven Soderbergh's TRAFFIC (2000). Herskovitz and Zwick continue to enjoy a creative partnership under their production banner The Bedford Falls Company. They will next pair for the Discovery Channel original series THE SUCK, about the American experience in the Vietnam War.
His accolades include four Emmy® Award wins, two Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards, a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award and three Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards. Currently, he is Vice Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees and a member of the AFI Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2003.
Edward Zwick is the force behind many of America's most celebrated films and TV series — from small-screen character studies to big-screen tales of epic heroism.
Born in Winnetka, IL, Zwick began making films as early as high school. After studying literature at Harvard, his passion for storytelling led him to study Directing at the AFI Conservatory, where he met his creative collaborator Marshall Herskovitz. Zwick's AFI thesis film won first place in the student competition at the 1976 Chicago Film Festival, earning the attention of producers of the television series FAMILY. Zwick, often alongside Herskovitz, worked as a director, producer and writer on the series for five years. He earned a Primetime Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Drama Series for FAMILY in 1980.
After sharing Emmys® with Herskovitz for producing and writing the television movie SPECIAL BULLETIN (1983) — which Zwick also directed — he made his auspicious debut as a director of theatrical features with ABOUT LAST NIGHT… (1986). Zwick's directing credits also include the Oscar®-winning GLORY (1989), LEGENDS OF THE FALL (1994), COURAGE UNDER FIRE (1996), THE SIEGE (1998), THE LAST SAMURAI (2003), BLOOD DIAMOND (2006), LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (2010), PAWN SACRIFICE (2014) and JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (2016).
As a producer, Zwick has worked with Herskovitz on series including THIRTYSOMETHING, MY SO-CALLED LIFE, ONCE AND AGAIN and NASHVILLE. Zwick earned a Best Picture Academy Award® in 1999 for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998). He earned a second Best Picture nomination for TRAFFIC (2000), which he co-produced with Herskovitz. Together, Zwick and Herskovitz continue to collaborate on film and television through their production banner The Bedford Falls Company.
Throughout his career, Zwick has also received three Emmy® Awards, a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award, a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award and three Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards. Currently, he is Vice Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees and a member of the AFI Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2003.