Legendary casting director Chemin Bernard has been honored by the Casting Society of America, which has awarded her with Emeritus Member Status in recognition of her “remarkable contributions to the organization, the profession, and the art of casting.” Bernard, who served as CSA president from 2006-08, was chosen for the honor by the CSA’s board of directors and by the CSA Black, Indigenous and People of Color Alliance.
“Chemin Bernard is an exemplary casting director who has built an esteemed career by championing actors and helping tell stories that make an impact on culture,” said CSA president Russell Boast. “She has been a cornerstone to our craft who continues to inspire the next generation of artists.”
“I am humbled by this honor and share it with the African American casting directors on whose shoulders I stand,” said Bernard, who is now retired. “My mission as a casting director was to change how people of color are portrayed on screen and to open doors for other people of color as casting professionals. This recognition is an acknowledgment of that goal and the talented actors my team and I were able to help be seen, heard and hired. I encourage the entire casting industry to continue this important work and be an active part of increasing visibility and representation.”
Bernard worked in casting for 30 years on numerous award-winning films and TV shows. Some of the notable talent she championed include casting Terrence Howard in his first series role in Tall Hopes, putting Jamie Foxx on In Living Color, and giving Jada Pinkett Smith her first lead role on Moe’s World. Her numerous credits include groundbreaking films with actors of color including Cool Runnings, Deep Cover and Fat Albert, and hit series like Martin, Moesha, In the House and The Parkers.
She was nominated for three CSA Artios Awards – for best children’s series for Just Jordan, and best feature film for both Cool Runnings and the indie hit Chasing Papi. She also received both the Notable Alumni Award and the President’s Award from her alma mater Loyola Marymount University.
Past recipients of the CSA’s Emeritus Status, which was started in 2014, include Lynn Stalmaster, Mary Buck, Gretchen Rennell Court, Julie Hughes, Jane Jenkins, Janet Hirshenson, Geoffrey Johnson, Wallis Nicita, Meg Simon and Juliet Taylor.