Veteran TV director Reza Badiyi feted
Helmer celebrating 80th birthday, 60th year in industry
Persian pride pulsated through UCLA's Royce Hall on Sunday night as members of the Iranian-American community honored director Reza Badiyi for his 80th birthday and his 60th year in the entertainment industry. Badiyi has directed more than 430 hours of television, believed by many to be the most in the history of the medium.
Iranian actors and friends hailed the veteran director for his kindness, his skill and energy. At the same time, they turned the 3 1/2-hour event into a celebration of Iranian culture, performing songs and love poems in Farsi and English.
"This man really cares about actors," said Lou Ferrigno, star of "The Incredible Hulk," eight episodes of which Badiyi directed. Actors from "Falcon Crest" expressed similar statements, as did Earl Hamner, the show's creator.
Badiyi also directed episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." In a taped message, Edward Asner, who played news director Lou Grant, wished Badiyi an even longer career. "The business is already in deep ca-ca," he joked. "So what more damage can he do?"
For his part, Badiyi said he intends to continue occupying the director's chair. "I have news for you," he told the audience of well-wishers. "I'm not done yet. I want to work more."
Quoting George Bernard Shaw, the veteran director declared: "I want to be truly used up by the time I die."
The night opened with a medley of theme songs from some of the series Badiyi has directed. These included the well-known strains of "Mission: Impossible," "Hawaii Five-0," "The Rockford Files," "Get Smart" and "Fame," as well as opening music from "The Doris Day Show," "Cagney and Lacey," "Baretta," "Knots Landing," "Baywatch" and "The Incredible Hulk."
Other director credits compiled by Badiyi include "The Six Million Dollar Man," "La Femme Nikita," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Star Trek."
The tributes included certificates from the Farhang Foundation and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans and a proclamation from Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad, a fellow Iranian-American. Referring to Iranian youth protesting the election and policies of the current hard-line Islamic leaders, Delshad added: "Your day is coming. We hear you and we see you and we wish you the best."
Among the night's performers were singer Zoya Sabet, Iranian actor Behrouz Vossoughi and writer Sadreddin Elahi. Hosts for the event were Shiva Rose and Navid Negahban.
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