Lifetime Achievement Award

Marg Pullishy

(awarded posthumously) 1945 – 2013
Presented at the Annual Alberta Film & Television Awards – 2013

Marg PullishyMarg Pullishy has been part of the film and television industry in Edmonton for over three decades. It was as a regular contributor in front of the camera with CFRN in 1983 that she first introduced audiences to “Wednesday’s Child,” which highlighted the pressing need for adoption in the province. Marg continued to bring the stories of Wednesday’s children to the forefront, serving as producer for the popular segments up until earlier in 2013. During her tenure Marg worked with over 1,000 Children, each year 70% of those featured found a home. “Wednesday’s Child” continues to run on CTV across the province.

Marg continued to expand her career by putting her skills and experience to use in helping the next generation of broadcasters learn their craft. As a journalism instructor for the NAIT radio and television arts program, her influence helped guide the formative years of many of the personalities on TV in Edmonton and abroad.

Her contributions to the media industry weren’t limited to the broadcast sector. Marg held many positions at Edmontonians magazine, including senior editor, writer, photographer, business coach, and first editorial manager of the famous Sizzling Twenty under 30.

This is only a small outline of Marg’s career and doesn’t account for the fact that she ran a successful communications business and spent countless hours serving on volunteer fundraising boards and committees, and organizing charity events.

It’s fair to say that one thing that has been a constant and recurring theme throughout her 30 plus years in the business is that her body of work was based on giving – whether it was a voice for those who had none, her insight and knowledge to the next generation, or her support for others less fortunate. Hers was a career, and lifetime, full of achievement and worthy of award.

Leslie Nielsen

Presented at the 29th Annual Alberta Film & Television Awards – 2003

Leslie Nielsen at 2003 AFTA Awards
Leslie Nielsen at 2003 AFTA Awards

In over 100 motion pictures and more than 1500 television appearances, Leslie Nielsen built a reputation portraying manly authority figures before turning his image inside out as the loopy doctor in Airplane! (1980). Always successful, his career soared anew with a series of Naked Gun features, sitcoms and stage appearances.  His most recent work includes the ice-curling comedy Men With Brooms, and as the program host for the new Comedy Network series Liography on Canada’s Comedy Network where he and his guests parody the endless parade of television programs that breathlessly celebrate the triumphs and woes of celebrity’s lives.

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, the son of a Canadian Mounted Policeman, Nielsen spent his earliest years living near the Arctic Circle.  After graduating from Victoria Composite High School (now the Victoria School of the Performing and Visual Arts), he joined the RCAF.  After his military service Leslie made his first entry into show business at the Calgary radio station CKXL where he worked as an engineer, disc jockey and announcer.  He then studied acting at Lorne Greene’s Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto, where he received a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.  He studied acting under Sanford Meisner, dancing with Martha Graham, and followed up with a season of summer stock and further training at the Actor’s Studio.

His television career began in 1950 with a Studio One appearance with Charlton Heston, and he went on to act in 46 live programs that year in the very heart of what has become known as TV’s Golden Age.  “But there was very little gold,” he maintains.  “We only got $75 or $100 per show.”  In 1954 Nielsen was brought to Hollywood by Paramount Pictures to star in Michael Curtiz’s The Vagabond King.  This was followed by a long-term contract at MGM where he starred in such films as Ransom!, The Opposite Sex, and The Sheepman.  Later loaned to Universal, he essayed the role of the bachelor opposite Debbie Reynolds in Tammy and the Bachelor, and is still remembered by that studio as a top money maker.  Subsequently, he starred on stage opposite Carol Burnett in Love Letters, and between films did the one-man show Darrow on a national tour of the United States and Canada in 1999 and 2000.

In 1995, as a testimonial to his comedic abilities, Nielsen was awarded UCLA’s Jack Benny Award following in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Steve Martin, Whoopie Goldberg, George Burns and Carol Burnett.  In June 2001 he was given a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.  In October 2002 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.  A major investor and supporter of children’s programming, he is the narrator for several popular animated series.  In addition, he has volunteered with various goodwill organizations, notably as a spokesmen for UNICEF Canada’s Change for Good Program.

He devotes much of his off-screen time to his second career as a loafer/golfer.  In addition to an ever-growing multitude of film fans, he has become the duffer’s hero, with a number of items conceived to make them feel better about themselves.  Among these are Nielsen’s best selling golf videos, Leslie Nielsen’s Bad Golf Made Easier (1993) and Leslie Nielsen’s Bad Golf My Way (1994).  In 1995 Doubleday published Leslie Nielsen’s Stupid Little Golf Book, which became a video of the same name in the summer of 1998.  “I have no goals or ambition,” says Nielsen.  “I do, however, wish to work enough to maintain whatever celebrity status I have so that they will continue to invite me to golf tournaments.”

Eugene Levy

Presented at the 30th Annual Alberta Film & Television Awards – 2004

Eugene Levy is the Emmy and recent Grammy Award winner whose comedic acting and writing has been enjoyed by millions for over thirty years.  Today he is perhaps best known to many as the go-with-the-flow father in the American Pie trilogy, where he is identified simply as ‘Jim’s Dad’.  But Eugene Levy will always be fondly remembered by Albertans for his years with SCTV, which was filmed in Edmonton.

Levy was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario.  He enrolled at McMaster University and attended with future SCTV colleagues Dave Thomas and Martin Short as well as Ivan Reitman and illusionist Doug Henning.  An amazing assemblage at a university that offered no film, drama or television credit courses!

Immediately following college, Levy worked as ‘the coffee boy’ on Reitman’s first feature film Foxy Lady, then appeared in several cameo roles.  He made his starring debut opposite Andrea Martin in Reitman’s 1973 horror comedy Cannibal Girls.

Levy appeared onstage in the Toronto production of Godspell and later replaced Victor Garber in the lead role.  Several months later he became a member of Toronto’s Second City troupe, which eventually landed its own television show SCTV.  Eugene Levy was one of the writers on the hit comedy series, which ran from 1976 to 1984, with the last five years being produced and filmed out of the ITV Studios (now Global) in Edmonton.

For SCTV Levy created numerous memorable characters, including Earl Camembert, Bobby Bittman, Alex Trebel, Sid Dithers, Gus Gustopherson and Stan Schmenge.  His writing on the series won him two Emmy Awards, in 1982 and 1983, for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program.

The past twenty years have seen Levy act in many feature film and television comedies, including Christopher Guest’s Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, and A Mighty Wind, where he shared the writing credits on all three films.  For the theme song from A Mighty Wind Levy won a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.  For his acting in that film he won the Best Supporting Actor Award from the New York Film Critics Circle in 2003.

Other film credits include Dumb & Dumberer, Like Mike, Splash, Armed and Dangerous, Almost Heroes, Down to Earth, Father of the Bride 2, Mulitplicity, and Bringing Down the House.  He will be seen in the upcoming New York Minute with Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, and is going into production in Toronto on The Man, opposite Samuel L. Jackson.

Other television credits include Mad About You, The Drew Carey Show, The Last Polka, The Enigma of Bobby Bittman (which he also wrote and directed), Maniac Mansion (producer), and Sodbusters (which he co-wrote and directed).  He played Gil Bender in the Fox Television series Greg the Bunny.

He made his directing debut in 1988 on the SCTV 15th Anniversary Special for Showtime.  Subsequently, he served as writer and executive producer for Showtime’s The Enigma of Bobby Bittman and I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood.  He also directed the 1994-95 season of NBC’s Martin Short series, and has served as executive producer, writer and performer on HBO’s The Last Polka and Maniac Mansion for Lucasfilm Television.

 

Alberta Media Production Industries Association