When the lodeplus.com announced, “America Inspired” in writing about the one person that I believe made a difference to my community, I accepted without a moment’s hesitation. I decided to use this great opportunity to nominate the only one person that I feel made a difference not only to myself but to many in the entertainment world.
I believe that New York City has—in its unique position as a world leader in the arts, culture and entertainment of the highest quality and one which will make us all proud. They would describe a man who is warm, talented and lighthearted, but serious about the task at hand. I can tell you that this individual that I will soon mention possessed the inner strength, personal confidence and power and prevailed against all odds.
From my own experience in the entertainment industry as an actor and producer, I learned to respect my craft and training. Then, I went into the theatre and was able to improve my skills and expertise with the assistance of many colleagues, all the best in their fields. They were true artists. It is not so easy to be an artist, aspiring to a very high level of skill and expression, a genius level. I was and am fortunate to learn from a genius. That genius is Ted Kotcheff, Executive ProducerLaw & Order SVU .
His intense desire and ambition, as a gifted and talented writer, producer and director and having cast over 25,000 New York City actors during his time on SVU and has directed stars in films like Jane Fonda, Nick Nolte, Robert Morley, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Brian Dennehy, Kathleen Turner, Burt Reynolds, George Segal and Christopher Reeve is in the spotlight today.
I see people who lack the understanding of learning from everything. By being exposed to as much as possible, our studies improve our contributions. Ted taught me to appreciate this and much more, especially in film, a collaborative effort with the director, such as Ted, leading us all.
For the past dozen years, Kotcheff has been a bicoastal man, working and living much of the time in New York, where he was executive producer and driving force behind Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Kotcheff served as an executive producer of this popular crime series and after 12 seasons and almost 300 shows ended his long stint running at SVU. The reason? Mentioned to me personally over dinner, Kotcheff stated, “I was feeling burnt out and then my leading man (Chris Meloni) and my chief writer and partner (Neil Baer) left, so I was in the position of having to reinvent the wheel.”
It is not often that we come across special people in our lives that can truly make a difference. Ted, for me and many others, had been a mentor and friend. By far, the most prolific film and television director and producer, Ted had taught me his creative style, sensitivity and knowledge, which has not only helped me to become a better producer, it has inspired me to be a more confident and sincere person in every day life. Ted’s leadership, direction and vision have affected not only me, but hundreds of his friends, admirers and peers. He will be truly missed by the people of New York City and of course the cast and crew of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
When I consider all the time, energy, insight and talent Ted has shared with me, I want to graciously thank him. He has inspired many people through his devotion to both, work and family, his endless generosity, his kindness and his dedication. He’s enlightened us with his creativity in film and television that has earned him the respect of peers and viewers. He epitomizes the spirit of collegiality, of teamwork, of sharing his knowledge and sources selflessly as he stays positive and hopeful, always believing, ‘If I can survive this day, this week, this life, then you can too. If I can do it – become it – live it – love it – learn it – then you can too.”
His proudest achievements, just to name a few:
- One is Wake in Fright, a 1971 classic made in the Australian outback, recently rediscovered and restored.
- The other is The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
On September 16, 2011 at the St. Lamberti Church in Oldenburg, Germany hosted one of the most prestigious nights during the 18th Oldenburg International Film Festival: The “German Independence Honorary Awards” which was presented to the guest of honor Canadian filmmaker himself, Ted Kotcheff (Retrospective)
In addition, Kotcheff on October 29, 2011 received the Directors Guild of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Gala at the prestigious Royal York Hotel. Hosted by multi-talented radio-host, musician and writer Jian Ghomeshi, the 2011 DGC Awards marks the 10th anniversary of the Awards.
The Directors Guild of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by Silver Sponsor, Shaftesbury Films for Kotcheff’s contribution for his work though film including the adaptation of his friend Mordecai Richler’s novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. He directed many other films throughout the 1970s and 80s, most in the United States, with perhaps the best-known being the Sylvester Stallone feature First Blood in 1982.
At 80, Ted avoids the word “retirement.” There are still movies he wants to make — and the book he knows he must write about his amazing life. Ted Kotcheff has successfully mastered film, television, comedy and tragedy. Few can follow.
“…when I direct, I become possessed, a possession I’ve never quite understood.”
I’m the NY and National Art and Film Industry Writer for the Examiner!
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