We added a new award this year, unique to the LA event. The first ever presentation of The Get In Touch Foundation Jean Stapleton Award. This is being given to Jason Katims in honor of the TV series Parenthood and the show's honest and accurate portrayal of a woman going through breast cancer its discovery, treatment and aftermath. We are honored to use Jean Stapleton's name and pleased to have permission from her family to do so.
In 1974 In an episode of "All In The Family" called "Edith's Christmas Story" Edith finds a lump in her breast after doing a breast self exam following the directions she saw in a magazine. Her lump turns out to be benign but in the course of telling this story the show broke new ground in the discussion of breast cancer. It was treated with respect and humor and honesty. This is why we chose to name the award after Jean Stapleton. I am also lucky enough to have known her son, producer, director, John Putch since high school. He was gracious enough to say yes.
I grew up in West LA and my brother's friends were not jocks they were filmmakers like him. From the age of 12 my brother found a few friends who made movies(he had attempted his first with a super 8 camera at around 9 years old). So from the time I was 9 our house was filled with boys making movies. Well written, well acted and well produced. This was in the days before video and digital --they lugged cameras around and before anyone could drive my mother tirelessly drove them everywhere. This was guerrilla moviemaking---no permits, a bit of trespassing and some pissed off security guards. As the boys grew up and started to drive the locations got more ambitious. People imagine what it was like to grow up with my dad--here is what it was like with Beau.
I tagged along a bit, did some extra work and provided food as I grew up.
There were three main filmmakers that I knew: my brother, Mike Pizzuto and John Putch. John was always doing his own things--both of them partnered with Mike on projects and sometimes all three would work together. John has the distinction of getting Beau to play a part in one of his movies. This group remained making films together through college. 10 years of consistent movie making.
John and Mike also did theatre at Uni High--Musicals every spring and they were both terrific. John was on a tv series as well but what I envied him for was his summer vacation plans. I wanted to be an actress and I loved musical theatre. Every summer John and his family would go to Pennsylvania to his father's theatre and do shows all summer long. To me it sounded like heaven and it showed in his charismatic fabulous performances in the musicals I saw him do in high school and college.
When the idea for this award came up I wondered what his take would be. Both he and his sister gave us their blessings. John thought it would be great that it would be about Edith Bunker as his mom was so proud of the work she did. I think I only met her once--maybe high school graduation or a play. There is a part of my heart that warms at the thought of having her name and the fearlessness with which she played that character associated with Get In Touch. I can't put it into words how proud I am to be able to name this award after her.