“Spider-Man” producer to be honored for co-founding and organizing Stand Up to Cancer initiative
Laura Ziskin will receive the Producers Guild of America’s 2011 Visionary Award, an honor given to producers who make “positive or uplifting contributions to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance,” the PGA announced on Wednesday.
Ziskin, whose films include “Pretty Woman,” “As Good As It Gets” and the “Spider-Man” franchise, is the co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, which has raised money, given over $70 million in grants and staged two televised events broadcast simultaneously on major networks and cable outlets.
Past recipients of the Visionary Award include Mike Nichols and Cary Brokaw for HBO’s “Angels in America,” Joel Gallen for the post 9/11 telethon “America: A Tribute to Heroes,” Jeff Skill for his work with Participant Media, and Simon Fuller for “American Idol” and the “Idol Gives Back” shows.
In a press release announcing the award, PGA Awards chair Paula Wagner said, “Laura Ziskin is not only an exceptionally talented producer but also an avid humanitarian with an inspirational drive to make a difference in the fight against cancer. Through the Stand Up to Cancer initiative, Laura has played a pivotal role in raising funds, awareness and support for continued research to find a cure.”
Ziskin called Stand Up to Cancer “my most important production,” and said she shares the award with her colleagues and co-founders at the organization, who include Katie Couric and Sherry Lansing. “We realized that we had the potential to make cancer the first tier issue it needs to be and to impact how cancer is treated by using our skills as producers and quite literally ‘putting on a show.’”
Ziskin herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.
In addition to Stand Up to Cancer and her film work, Ziskin produced the Academy Awards in 2002 and again in 2007. Six years ago, Ziskin won the PGA’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award. She is the first producer to receive both that award and the Visionary Award.
The PGA will present the award to Ziskin at the 22nd Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 22 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel.