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DGA Elects First African American President: TV Director Paris Barclay

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 22, 2013 at 10:30PM

As television becomes more prominent and significant in the entertainment world, so the new head of the DGA comes from that medium. TV producer and director Paris Barclay ("Sons of Anarchy," "In Treatment") was elected President of the Directors Guild of America at the Guild's National Biennial Convention on Saturday at the DGA national headquarters in Los Angeles. Replacing outgoing President Taylor Hackford, Barclay is the first African American to head the DGA. Steven Soderbergh, in seconding past-president Michael Apted's nomination stated, "This is a great moment for our Guild; Paris will be a phenomenal leader as we move into the future."
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Paris Barclay
Paris Barclay

As television becomes more prominent and significant in the entertainment world, so the new head of the DGA comes from that medium. TV producer and director Paris Barclay ("Sons of Anarchy," "In Treatment") was elected President of the Directors Guild of America at the Guild's National Biennial Convention on Saturday at the DGA national headquarters in Los Angeles. Replacing outgoing President Taylor Hackford, Barclay is the first African American to head the DGA. Steven Soderbergh, in seconding past-president Michael Apted's nomination stated, "This is a great moment for our Guild; Paris will be a phenomenal leader as we move into the future."

147 delegates representing more than 15,000 members of the DGA also elected a new slate of officers and members of the National Board of Directors.

Barclay told the assembled delegates after the vote:

"I am profoundly honored to be elected President of the DGA. The DGA has worked for more than three-quarters of a century to advance the creative and economic rights of directors and their teams and I look forward to continuing this strong tradition of service.  As the son of a glass blower and a tile maker from Chicago, I am extremely humbled to have the honor to serve in the footsteps of the legendary leaders of the DGA like Frank Capra, Robert Wise and Gil Cates."

When Apted placed Barclay's name in nomination, he said: "Paris' qualifications for DGA president are exceptional. His understanding of the issues facing directors and their teams is outstanding and his ability to resolve problems and create solutions is beyond compare."  

Barclay most recently served four terms on the National Board as First Vice-President, beginning in 2005 and as Third Vice-President from 1999 to 2005.  Barclay joined the Guild in 1992 and the next year became a member of the African American Steering Committee in 1993, which he chaired from 2000-2002. He joined the Western Directors Council in 1997 as an alternate and was elected a full Council member in 1999 and has served on the Council for 16 years.  In 2007, the Guild presented Barclay with the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award for extraordinary service to the DGA. 

Barclay has also co-chaired the Guild's Diversity Committee since 2004, served on the Single-Camera Creative Rights Negotiating Committee since 1996, and created and coordinated the Single Camera Directors Prep Program in 2001.  As current chair of the DGA Political Action Committee, Barclay has worked to represent the guild in Washington, DC. 

Barclay has directed over 130 episodes of television, including: "Glee," "Smash," "House," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "The Good Wife," "CSI," "Lost," "The Shield," "The West Wing," and "ER."  In addition to episodic directing, Barclay has been an active director-producer for such shows as "Sons of Anarchy," "In Treatment," "Cold Case," "City of Angels" and "NYPD Blue."   

He also directed the HBO movie for television "The Cherokee Kid" and the Miramax feature "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood."  

The DGA has given Barclay 10 Award nominations for Outstanding Direction in Comedy and Drama Television.  He became the first Director in the history of the Guild to receive a comedy and a drama nomination in the same year, two years in a row (2008 "In Treatment" and "Weeds" and 2009 "In Treatment" and "Glee"). He won the 1998 DGA Dramatic Series Award for his "NYPD Blue" episode "Heart and Souls" featuring the death of Jimmy Smits' character Bobby Simone. He also won two Emmy Awards for his direction of "NYPD Blue" and received four additional Emmy nominations for producing and directing. 

Barclay has also received three NAACP Image Awards, four Peabody Awards and two Humanitas Prizes. He began his career in advertising working as a creative executive and segued into directing commercials and music videos for such artists as Janet Jackson, Bob Dylan, and LL Cool J. Barclay, a Harvard graduate, has two sons. He is married to Christopher Barclay.

Officers elected to serve alongside Barclay include Vincent Misiano, National Vice President, and returning Michael Apted, Secretary-Treasurer.

Also elected were First Vice-President Betty Thomas; Second Vice-President Gary Donatelli; Third Vice-President Thomas Schlamme; Fourth Vice-President Jace Alexander; Fifth Vice-President Jon Favreau; Sixth Vice-President John LiBretto; and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Scott Berger. 

This article is related to: DGA, TV, Television, TV News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.