Directors Guild to Honor Don Mischer With Lifetime Achievement Award

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Don Mischer

The master of live TV direction will be presented with the prize at the 71st DGA Awards on Feb. 2.

Don Mischer, a master of directing live TV, has been named the recipient of the Directors Guild of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction, it was announced Tuesday by DGA president Thomas Schlamme.

The award will be presented at the 71st annual DGA Awards on Feb. 2 at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood.

Mischer will be the fourth recipient of the award, which was created by the DGA board of directors in 2014, joining the Lifetime Achievement Award for Motion Picture Direction as the guild’s two highest honors. Winners are nominated by a blue ribbon committee of prominent TV directors and approved by the present and past presidents of the guild. Helmers James Burrows and Robert Butler received the inaugural honor in 2014, and commercial director Joe Pytka received it in 2016. 

The winner of 15 Emmy Awards, 10 DGA Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a Peabody Award and the Producers Guild of America’s 2012 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, Mischer is president of Don Mischer Productions and has amassed a résumé that includes directing We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, The Kennedy Center Honors and The 100th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall. 

He also has helmed Super Bowl halftime shows that featured Prince, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen; the opening ceremonies of both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games; the Democratic National Convention; and events celebrating Hong Kong’s reunification with China.  

Additionally, Mischer has both produced and directed the Oscars and Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America for ABC, which celebrated the 2016 opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Mischer has served two terms on the DGA’s national board, as well as two terms on the board of governors of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He also has received the Governors Award from the National Association of Choreographers and is a member of the Event Industry Hall of Fame and the PGA.

Mischer is serving as Awards Chair of the DGA Awards for the second year in a row.

“Don’s mastery of directing live events is a sight to behold: a fast-paced symphony of meticulous planning and on-the-spot decision-making that brings our nation’s greatest cultural events into our living rooms. And he does it all with grace and confidence,” Schlamme said in announcing the honor.