Famed Filmmaker Blake Edwards to be Honored at January Gala

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"Pink Panther" Creator to Receive "Lifetime of Master Storytelling" Award.

The Days of Wine and Roses

Blake Edwards, the Academy Award® winning filmmaker of such classic films as "The Pink Panther" series, "Breakfast at Tiffany's", “Victor/Victoria”, 10, S.O.B. and "The Days of Wine and Roses" among his 49 feature films, will be the very first recipient of the Hollywood Icon™ Lifetime of Master Storytelling Honors award as part of Hollywood's Master Storytellers'™ Hollywood Icon™ Celebration, to be held on Sunday, January 8 at Paramount Studios, it was announced by Gordon Meyer, one of the creators and executive producers of the red carpet event.

“We wanted to make this more than just an award,” explains Nadine C. Hamdan, who, along with Meyer and writer/producer John Culton is an executive producer of the event. “Because we are paying tribute to a legendary filmmaker whose body of work has entertained hundreds of millions of people around the world for over 50 years we felt it was more accurate and appropriate to name the presentation the Hollywood Icon™ Lifetime of Master Storytelling Honors.”

“We chose Blake Edwards as our first Hollywood Icon™ Lifetime of Master Storytelling honoree because we knew we would be establishing the standard against which future honorees would be measured and we wanted to set the bar high,” adds Meyer, who is also the creator and host of the prestigious Hollywood’s Master Storytellers™ film series, now it its third continuous year at ArcLight Hollywood.

“I've met and interviewed some of the most successful and influential filmmakers in Hollywood. Blake Edwards is special. He made some of my all time favorite movies and I am incredibly excited about honoring him this fall. As one of the most successful writers, directors and producers in the history of Hollywood, he truly embodies the concept of a Hollywood Master Storyteller™, especially when you look at the number of classic films he's created.”

Edwards' career as a filmmaker stretches back to 1948 when he wrote, produced and co-starred in a pair of westerns for Monogram Pictures, a production company that specialized in low budget action films. As a writer and director, he moved back and forth between big and little screens in the 1950s with growing success leading to the debut of the hit detective show “Peter Gunn” in 1958. His 1963 classic "The Pink Panther" marked the start of one of the most successful comedy franchises of all time and made Peter Sellers an international star. “One of the things that's so remarkable about Blake Edwards' career is that, while he's best known for comedies, he’s written, produced and/or directed very successful films in just about every genre,” Meyer said.

According to Bob Gale, the Academy Award® nominated writer/producer of the "Back to the Future" trilogy and a popular Hollywood’s Master Storytellers™ guest, Edwards is in a class by himself. “Blake Edwards has the amazing ability to mix sophisticated comedy with slapstick humor in a unique way that is a joy to experience. To be adept at getting laughs in so many ways and in so many styles is the mark of a comedy genius, and I can't think of anyone who deserves this honor more.”

Edwards' films have been a favorite with audiences worldwide for over 50 years. His work has influenced several generations of filmmakers, including recent Hollywood's Master Storytellers™ guest Rawson Marshall Thurber, who launched his writing and directing career with last year's summer $114 million hit, DODGEBALL. “As a devoted fan of physical comedy, I consider Blake Edwards to be an unquestioned master of the craft, up there with the greats: Chaplin, The Three Stooges and Lucille Ball,” Thurber said.

Executive Producer John Culton anticipates major demand for admission to the exclusive invitation-only event. “We'll be celebrating Blake Edwards' career and body of work in front of an audience of his peers,” explains Culton. The Hollywood Icon™ Lifetime of Master Storytelling Honors celebrating the career and films of Blake Edwards is part of the Hollywood Icon™ Celebration gala, an event that will also honor over 100 of the industry's most prominent and successful filmmakers, the talented men and women who have been featured guests of the Hollywood's Master Storytellers™ series. “This is an event that all of our illustrious alumni are being invited to, along with some of the motion picture industry's biggest movers and shakers. And they're all big fans of Blake Edwards and his films. But then, who isn’t?”

On Sunday, January 8, Hollywood's Master Storytellers Entertainment will host the first annual Hollywood Icon™ Celebration at Paramount Studios when five prominent Storytellers, including Edwards, will be the recipients of special Hollywood Icon™ honors for excellence in their craft. In addition, Hollywood's Master Storytellers™ alumni will be inducted into the Distinguished Society of Master Storytellers as a part of the evening.

Twice a month, Hollywood's Master Storytellers™ showcases the motion picture industry's most fascinating Storytellers. Since its launch in January 2003, Hollywood's Master Storytellers™ has been host to such luminaries as Academy Award® winning writer/director James Cameron, Academy Award® winning actor/director Gary Sinise, director Richard Donner, DreamWorks principal and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and actor/producer/director George Clooney. A broadcast version is currently in development. Hollywood's Master Storytellers™, which is open to the public, provides audiences with the opportunity to meet some of Hollywood's best Storytellers, telling the always-fascinating “Great Stories Behind the Great Stories™Â” and is a production of Hollywood's Master Storytellers Entertainment. FilmStew.com is the official online home of Hollywood's Master Storytellers™.

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