Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that it will honor Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers of Shondaland with the Guild’s 2014 Diversity Award. The Award is being given for their commitment to diversity hiring, their long record of providing jobs and opportunities to women and minorities in DGA-covered categories, and for the example they set for the rest of the industry. The Award will be presented at the 66th Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, January 25, 2014.
The Diversity Award has only been given four times in its history: in 1997 to Bruce Paltrow, John Wells and Christopher Chulack; in 1999 to Steven Bochco; in 2000 to HBO; and in 2005 to Stephen McPherson.
“The DGA Diversity Award is an exceedingly rare honor, given only when we feel strongly that someone is making a real difference in the hiring of women and minorities,” said DGA President Paris Barclay. “In the decade that Shonda and Betsy have been creating and producing buzzworthy television, their record of diverse hiring has been consistently outstanding at a time when very few television series meet that standard. As a result, they have impacted the careers of dozens of women and minorities – they’ve made stars not only in front of, but behind the camera as well. They’re strong and outspoken advocates for diversity throughout our industry, and we are very proud to recognize them with the DGA’s Diversity Award.”
Rhimes and Beers are partners in Shondaland, the production company founded by Rhimes in 2004. Rhimes is the creator and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and the recently-concluded Private Practice. She is the recipient of multiple awards for her work on these series, and has twice been included in TIME Magazine’s 100 list of the most influential people, along with Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” Variety’s “Power of Women” and Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year.” In 2013, Rhimes was appointed by President Obama to serve as Trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Prior to founding Shondaland in 2004, Rhimes wrote the feature films Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement, and Crossroads, and co-wrote the acclaimed mini-series Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which was nominated for a DGA Award and won multiple Emmys.
Rhimes holds a BA from Dartmouth College in English Literature with Creative Writing and an MFA from the USC School of Cinema-Television. The youngest of six, she was born and raised outside of Chicago, IL, and now resides in Los Angeles with her three daughters.
“It has always been important that the world created in my shows look like the actual world that we live in,” said Rhimes. “I am truly honored to be receiving this prestigious award and am thankful for all of the work that the DGA does to promote diversity in our industry.”
Beers is executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and the recently-concluded Private Practice, and has been honored multiple times for her work as a producer. She is a partner in Rhimes’ company Shondaland, where she and Rhimes work together to develop and produce additional feature film and television projects.
Prior to joining Shondaland, Beers was president of the Mark Gordon Company, overseeing the development and production of feature film and television projects, including Grey’s Anatomy, and produced features The Hoax and Casanova. Previously, as president of Dogstar Films, Beers produced 200 Cigarettes and Best Laid Plans, and developed High Fidelity and Pushing Tin. She also served as executive producer on features Safe Passage and Witchhunt.
Beers received a BA from Williams College where she studied theater and English literature. She acted and performed comedy for several years in New York City before moving to Los Angeles, where she made the transition to producing. She is married to a criminal defense attorney and continues to live in Los Angeles.
“I am thrilled and honored to be receiving this award from the DGA,” said Beers. “We want to accurately reflect the world in which we live today – and that means ensuring that a diverse workplace exists, both on and off screen.”
The DGA Diversity Award winner is selected by the Guild’s Diversity Task Force and was unanimously approved by the National Board. It will be presented at the 66th Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.