Innovators

Innovators Series: Chuck Lorre

Thursday, October 25, 2012
7:00 to 8:30 pm
Los Angeles


Chuck Lorre

For the past twenty years, Chuck Lorre has delivered such hit shows as "Grace Under Fire," "Dharma & Greg," "Roseanne" and “Cybill.” He cocreated the blockbuster comedy series "The Big Bang Theory" and “Two and a Half Men” and also executive produces the hit sitcom “Mike & Molly.”

From humble beginnings, the Long Island native got his start as a guitarist/singer, touring the country and writing several hundred pop songs that, as he puts it, “helped keep him out of the big time” (Debbie Harry’s Top 40 hit “French Kissin’ in the USA” being the lone exception). After more than a decade on the road, Lorre decided to turn his attention to television. He began writing animation scripts for DiC entertainment and Marvel Productions, as well as writing and producing the themes and scores for such animated series as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

A spec primetime script soon led to freelance work on the syndicated comedy “Charles In Charge” and eventually to a staff job on the NBC sitcom “My Two Dads” starring Paul Reiser. Lorre’s big break came in 1991, when he became a supervising producer on the ABC/Carsey-Werner hit comedy “Roseanne.” Over the next two seasons, during which he was promoted to coexecutive producer, Lorre helped bring the show to the height of its critical and popular acclaim, shattering one sacred cow after another in the process. Since then, Lorre has dominated the network television comedy landscape, creating hit multi-camera sitcoms that generated mass appeal and spurred the revival of the genre. At the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards, both “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” picked up acting awards for breakout stars Jim Parsons and Melissa McCarthy, respectively.
 
Most recently, Lorre received the Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award at the Banff World Media Festival, which recognizes creative talent and contributions to the media industry. On March 1, 2012, he was selected as one of the newest inductees into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Lorre has also been honored with a BMI Crystal Award for cowriting the theme song for “Two and a Half Men” and was presented with an honorary membership in the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science. In November 2009, the non-profit organization Clare Foundation—which provides treatment and recovery services for alcoholism and substance abuse to those in need—presented Lorre with the “Friends of CLARE Tribute Award” for his lasting contribution to the field of recovery. Lorre was also awarded with the David Angell Humanitarian Award on behalf of the American Screenwriters Association for demonstrating charitable efforts at the Venice Family Clinic. 

In March 2009, Lorre was awarded with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his life-long contribution to the entertainment industry. In February, Lorre was awarded the 2009 Television Showman of the Year Award at the 46th Annual ICG Publicists Awards Ceremony, which recognizes individuals whose creative accomplishments reflect the finest qualities of what has traditionally been defined as showmanship. In January 2009, Lorre was honored with The NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award for exhibiting extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating television programming and in evoking the spirit of Brandon Tartikoff’s generosity.  

Chuck Lorre has been a long-time contributor to the Venice Family Clinic—the largest free medical clinic in the country that is dedicated to providing free, quality health care to people in need. He embodies the Venice Family Clinic’s mission to provide comprehensive primary care that is affordable, accessible and compassionate for people with no other access to such care.  

In 1999, he established the Dharma/Grace Foundation where he insisted that the foundation directly benefit the people for whom the money was intended—dollars had to be translated immediately into services. Through the Dharma/Grace Foundation, Lorre has made it possible for funds to be distributed to the clinic in perpetuity. In 2002, Lorre was honored with the Silver Circle Humanitarian Award for his compassion for others and his determination to assure that the sick be cared for, that children be given a healthy beginning, and that no one be turned away for lack of financial resources.  

Another addition to the clinic, The Robert Levine Family Health Center, named after Lorre’s father, provides 2,000 women and teens with free health care services. In addition to serving as a core benefactor and advocate for the organization, Lorre is a member of the Philanthropy Board. His efforts and contributions to the organization have been recognized by the CEO of the organization, Elizabeth Benson Forer. “Chuck Lorre has helped the Venice Family Clinic fulfill our dreams of having a beautiful clinic for women and teens,” said Forer. “Chuck is always available to help us. He has directed friends to us who have donated significant funds and all of this translates into providing more health care services for more people. Without Chuck’s guidance, ideas, help and generosity we would not be able to provide free health care to 22,000 people each year in 117,000 patient visits.”   

Lorre is expanding into publishing, signing a deal with Simon & Schuster for the release of What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Bitter, the first-ever print collection of Lorre's irreverent and often controversial end-of-show vanity cards. The hardcover coffee table book will be published in October 2012, with a retail price of $100 (U.S.) and $110 (Canada), and will feature a curated selection of Lorre's vanity cards. All proceeds from the sale of What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Bitter will benefit the Dharma-Grace Foundation.
 

This event is exclusive to Media Council members and other invited guests. To register for this event, or to find out if you're eligible to join the Media Council, contact Stephanie Kousoulas at 212-621-6732 or mediacouncil@paleycenter.org.

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