Longtime comedy screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, known for such hits as Splash, Parenthood, City Slickers and A League of Their Own, will receive this year’s WGA West’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement. The prize is presented to guild members who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter.”
“Starting in the 1980s with a string of critical and commercial hits, the imprint Ganz and Mandel have left on movies is profound,” said WGA West president David A. Goodman. “Their scripts are always a balancing act; funny and moving, edgy but never offensive. They understand that in order for the jokes to work, the characters have to be compelling and relatable, but never lose sight of the fact that in a comedy, you need comedy. Two truly funny, talented writers whose careers the WGAW board of directors is thrilled to honor with this award.”
WGA West members since the early ‘70s, Ganz and Mandel started their careers in television, working together on Happy Days and on numerous other top TV comedies of the day. They made the transition to writing for the big screen in the early 1980s, co-penning a string of hit comedies during the decade. It began with 1982’s Night Shift, followed by Splash (1984), Spies Like Us (1985), Gung Ho (1986) and the 1989 dramedy Parenthood.
During the ‘90s, they co-penned the feature films City Slickers, A League of Their Own, Mr. Saturday Night, Greedy, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold, Forget Paris, Multiplicity and Father’s Day. In the new millennium, they continued to collaborate on such films as Where the Heart Is, Fever Pitch and the animated feature Robots.
The screenwriting duo will be honored at the WGAW’s 2019 Writers Guild Awards L.A. show on February 17. Past recipients include James L. Brooks, Elaine May, Oliver Stone, Harold Ramis, David Mamet, Paul Mazursky, Lawrence Kasdan, Eric Roth, Steven Zaillian, and Robert Towne.