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‘Family Guy’ Creator Seth Macfarlane Receives WGAW Lifetime Achievement Award

Acclaimed writer-producer is honored with the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus’ 2015 Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement in recognition of his outstanding contributions to animation writing.

LOS ANGELES -- In recognition of his outstanding contributions to animation writing, Family Guy creator and acclaimed writer-producer Seth MacFarlane was recognized with the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus’ 2015 Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement Thursday night at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. WGAW Vice President David A. Goodman introduced the evening, and actor Sir Patrick Stewart presented the award.

“It’s great that the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus has voted to give Seth this award that values his contribution to the field,” said WGAW Vice President and Family Guy writer David A. Goodman. “His unique talent has completely changed the form and raised the profile of the animation writer. From a union perspective, we need to applaud the fact that he ensures all his shows are WGA-covered -- he himself employs more animation writers working under a WGA contract than any other showrunner, now or ever.”

“A ‘daytime’ animation writer turned ‘primetime’ animation mogul, we are proud to honor Mr. Seth MacFarlane for his pivotal organizing role in WGA history and are grateful for his continuing commitment to all animation writers,” said WGAW Animation Writers Caucus Chair Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie.

Possessing a wide range of talents, writer-director-actor-producer-singer Seth MacFarlane has created some of the most popular content on television and in film today, while also expanding his career in the worlds of music, literature, and philanthropy.

MacFarlane began his career studying animation and design at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he created the animated short film, The Life of Larry. Impressed executives at Hanna-Barbera encouraged MacFarlane to move to Los Angeles in 1995 to create and direct a short film for them. After moving to L.A., he went on to work on numerous animated series, including Ace Ventura, Jungle Cubs, and Johnny Bravo.

At 25, MacFarlane became the youngest showrunner in television history when his animated series Family Guy aired on FOX. Now in its 13th season, Family Guy has garnered MacFarlane Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance and Outstanding Music and Lyrics. In addition to Family Guy, MacFarlane serves as co-creator, executive producer and voice actor on American Dad. He also executive produced the 21st century version of Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey that premiered on ten US networks, simultaneously across FOX and National Geographic platforms, making it the largest television premiere event of all time. The series has gone on to receive a Peabody Award, two Critics Choice Television Awards, nominations for a Television Critics Association Award, and 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. MacFarlane is also an executive producer on Starz’s comedy, Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart and written by Jonathan Ames. The show recently wrapped its first season and was already greenlit for a second season.

MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in 2012 with the highest-grossing original R-rated film of all time, Ted. This buddy comedy starred Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane as the voice of the lovable foul-mouthed teddy bear. The film made over $545 million worldwide and was also co-written and produced by MacFarlane. Fresh off the success of Ted, MacFarlane hosted the 85th Academy Awards in 2013 and was also nominated for the film that same year. He was nominated for “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song” for “Everybody Needs a Best Friend.” The highly anticipated sequel, Ted 2, was released on June 26, 2015. In May 2014, Universal released MacFarlane's western-comedy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, which he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in an ensemble cast that included Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried and Neil Patrick Harris.

MacFarlane’s debut album “Music is Better Than Words,” debuted at #1 on the iTunes jazz charts in 2011 and went on to receive two Grammy nominations, including “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.” Released by Universal Republic, the album is a celebration of the classic, sophisticated sound of the lush swing orchestras of the ’40s and ’50s with MacFarlane singing some of the hidden gems of that era. Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles collaborate with MacFarlane on two duets on the album. In 2014, MacFarlane released his first-ever Christmas album, “Holiday for Swing,” that debuted at #1 on the iTunes holiday album charts. The album is composed of timeless holiday songs accompanied by a 52-piece orchestra. On his third and most recent album, “No One Ever Tells You,” MacFarlane showcases the unique arrangements and orchestral interpretations of the ’50s and ’60s and introduces listeners to ballads about love and loss unique to the time. The album was released on iTunes on Sept. 30th and quickly rose to No. 1 on the jazz charts.

He has performed with famed composer John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl, The John Wilson Orchestra for BBC proms and joined numerous celebrated symphonies including San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The WGAW’s AWC Animation Writing Award is given to members of the Animation Writers Caucus or Writers Guild who have advanced the literature of animation in film and television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer. Founded in 1994, the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus represents over 600 animation writers and works to advance economic and creative conditions in the field. Through organizing efforts, educational events, and networking opportunities, the Guild’s AWC is a leading proponent for animation writers.

Previous AWC Animation Writing Award honorees include Stan Berkowitz, Brad Bird, Alan Burnett, Matt Groening, Al Jean & Mike Reiss, Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress, Mike Scully, Patric M. Verrone, Linda Woolverton, Sam Simon and, most recently, Len Uhley.

Source: Writers Guild of America, West

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.