Acclaimed television writer-director-producer, documentary filmmaker, and former Writers Guild of America West Board of Directors member Joan Meyerson has been named the recipient of the WGAW’s 2019 Morgan Cox Award in recognition for her decades-long, outstanding service to the Guild. Meyerson will be honored at the upcoming 2019 Writers Guild Awards L.A. show on Sunday, February 17.
“I had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors with Joan for many years, and no one better exemplifies dedication to our Guild and its members than she does. She is one of our most valued, hard-working and selfless leaders, and the current Board and I are thrilled we have the opportunity to honor her service,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman.
In addition to serving five terms on the WGAW’s Board of Directors (1991-95, 2002-04, 2005-09), Meyerson also served on the WGA’s 2004 Negotiating Committee and numerous Guild committees over the years, including: Board Nominating (1994), East-West Study (1993), Informational Films (1987-1993; chair 1990-91), Membership & Finance (1994-96), New Media (1993-96), Nonfiction Writers Working Group (1998-2002; co-chair 1999-2001), Nonfiction Writers Caucus Steering (co-chair 2002-05), Officers Nominating (2005), Organizing (2002-05), PBS Negotiating (1992-93, 2002-04, 2008), Podcast Advisory (2017-18), Strike Fund (1995), Television Writers Council (2008-15), Waiver (2006-09), Web Editorial Board (1995-97), and Women Writers (1973-76), as well as serving as a Picket Team Captain during the 1981 Writers Guild strike.
A Writers Guild West member since 1972, Meyerson has written numerous television programs throughout her career, including more than a dozen, top-rated PBS National Memorial Day Concert specials in the past two decades, which have earned her two Writers Guild Awards in 2007 and 2011 (Comedy/Variety Specials), as well as a WGA nomination in 2013. While writing these annual TV specials honoring America’s men and women in uniform, she worked closely with vets and military families to share their stories.
She began her career in television during the 1970s at David L. Wolper Productions, where she wrote and produced several episodes of The Explorers series, as well as serving as associate producer of the John Glenn special, On the Trail of Stanley and Livingston, and the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Say Goodbye, which chronicled endangered species.
Over the years, she has created an extensive and diverse body of work as a writer, director, and producer, encompassing children’s programming, animation, live-action series, new media, and interactive game programs. Meyerson has written, directed, and produced multiple episodes for broadcast and cable TV series such as Zoolife with Jack Hanna, The Hunt for Amazing Treasures, and Things That Go Bump: Facing Our Fears. For PBS, her writing credits range from the documentary special Michiyo and Kelly: A Quest for Education to co-writing the acclaimed Empires miniseries, Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire, which received an International Documentary Association nomination for Best Limited Series. She also co-wrote and co-produced the top-rated PBS series Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses, based on the bestselling book by Bruce Feiler. Her additional writing credits include penning episodes of nonfiction TV programs such as History’s Mysteries, Legends, Icons, & Superstars of the 20th Century, Last of the Wild, and Untamed World.
Other accolades Meyerson has received for her body of work include the Cine Golden Eagle, Columbus Film Festival’s Chris Plaque, American Film & Video Festival’s Blue Ribbon, and New York Film Festival’s Bronze Medal.
In addition to serving as a former Board member of Women in Film and of the International Documentary Association (IDA), Meyerson has been a guest lecturer on the art and craft of writing documentaries at UCLA and USC and moderated panels representing the Writers Guild, Writers Guild Foundation, and IDA at seminars, conferences, and festivals.
Born in Los Angeles, Meyerson graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She also studied at the University of Mexico and the Sorbonne in Paris. After a brief stint at UC Berkeley’s graduate school studying history, she landed a summer job as an associate producer of a local TV talk show, booking a diverse range of guests from Phyllis Diller to Ronald Reagan, an early gig which exposed her to the drama of real-life events and would later inform her career as a documentary filmmaker.
The Morgan Cox Award honors that WGAW member whose vital ideas, continuing efforts, and personal sacrifice best exemplify the ideal of service to the Guild. During his lifetime, Cox devoted his professional career to serving the Guild, working to ensure television writers were included under WGA jurisdiction. Previous recipients include Dan Wilcox, Del Reisman, Frank Pierson, Carl Gottlieb, Patric M. Verrone, Daniel Petrie, Jr., Jeff Melvoin, and Arthur Sellers.
The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, videogames, news, radio, promotional, and graphic animation categories. The 2019 Writers Guild Awards (71st Annual) will be presented at concurrent ceremonies on Sunday, February 17, 2019, in Los Angeles at The Beverly Hilton and in New York City at the Edison Ballroom. For more information about the 2019 Writers Guild Awards, please visit www.wga.org or www.wgaeast.org.