University of Southern California
USC Scripter® Award

Scripter > Press > Releases > December 3, 2003

Press Releases

For Immediate Release

December 3, 2003

Toni Miller (213) 740-2328;
Susan L. Wampler (213) 821-1639;

New Emcee and Returning Legends Support 16th Annual Scripter® Award

LOS ANGELES - Award-winning actress Sharon Gless, comedy writer Hal Kanter and legendary screenwriter Robert Towne, will serve as master of ceremonies, grand master of ceremonies and chair of the USC Scripter® Award selection committee respectively, the Friends of the USC Libraries announced today. The ceremony will be held Sunday, February 15, 2004 on the USC campus.

Bestowed annually since 1989 by the Friends, the Scripter Award honors the year's best film adaptation of a book or novella, and is given to both the author and screenwriter. Last year's winners were author Michael Cunningham and screenwriter David Hare for their work on The Hours.

"We are thrilled that these three Hollywood luminaries will be part of this exciting literary event," said Friends President Regina Leimbach.

Towne will lead a selection committee comprised of Writers Guild of America members--including Academy Award-winning and -nominated screenwriters--; fiction and nonfiction authors, film industry executives, USC faculty and selected members of the Friends of the USC Libraries. Each January, the selection committee chooses five finalists, and then a winner, from among all English-language films based on books or novellas released the prior year.

Emmy® winner and Golden Globe® winner for her role as Christine Cagney on Cagney & Lacey, Sharon Gless will follow in the emcee steps of the late John Ritter, who served as master of ceremonies for the 15th Scripter Awards and was on board for the 2004 event before his untimely death in September. Gless and Ritter had worked together on Letting Go in 1985, and had remained friends throughout their careers. "I'm very honored to follow in John's footsteps in supporting the Scripter Awards," said Gless. "He was a great supporter and alumnus of USC, as are many in my family, and we're delighted to be associated with an award that honors great writers." Gless has starred in many TV series and made-for-television movies, including Bring Him Home, Smoke and Mirrors: A History of Denial, The Girl Next Door and Honor Thy Mother. She has performed twice on the stage in London, appearing in the adaptation of Stephen King's Misery as well as Neil Simon's Chapter Two. She is currently filming Queer as Folk and creating a new television series to be announced.

Four-time Academy Award nominee Robert Towne gained acclaim early in his career when it became widely known that he contributed key, uncredited scenes to such films as The Godfather, Bonnie & Clyde and The Parallax View. He remains one of the most sought-after screenwriters and script doctors today. Screenwriting credits include The Last Detail, Chinatown (for which he won an Academy Award®), Shampoo, Days of Thunder, Mission Impossible and its sequel, Greystoke, The Firm, Personal Best, Tequila Sunrise and Without Limits, the last three of which he directed. He currently is preparing to direct his adaptation of John Fante's Ask the Dust. In October 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Screenwriting from PEN USA and the outstanding achievement award at this year's Hollywood Film Festival.

Writer, producer and director Hal Kanter has scripted 32 Academy Awards shows from the 1950s to 2003. He has written 25 produced screenplays that include The Rose Tattoo, Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles, seven Bob Hope comedies and the Cosby/Hope Road to Bali. He made his film directing debut with I Married a Woman, followed by Elvis Presley's Loving You. During TV's Golden Age, Kanter was the Emmy-winning creator of the George Gobel Show and the first comedy to feature an African-American, Julia, starring Diahann Carroll and Lloyd Nolan. As executive writer/producer, his credits include All in the Family, Chico and the Man and You Can't Take it With You. Kanter was honored by the Writers Guild of America with its Paddy Chayevsky Laurel and Valentine Davies Awards. His novel, Snake in the Glass, was followed by his memoir, So Far, So Funny, the subject of a Friends of the USC Libraries literary luncheon in 1999. He is currently editing a sequel that he says "I hope to finish before I am."

The annual black-tie Scripter Award gala is held in the Los Angeles Times Reference Room of the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at USC. Proceeds benefit the Doheny Library Preservation Fund. Catherine Goldsmith will chair this year's event committee. Tickets prices are $350 per person with table prices at $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

For additional information, please call (213) 740-2328, email or visit