Gale Anne Hurd

2014 Achievement in American Film

Gale Anne Hurd, known as the "First Lady of Sci-Fi," is a producer of Academy Award-winning films and Emmy-winning programs that shatter box office and ratings records.

After climbing the ladder from executive assistant at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures to head marketing for the company, Hurd’s career as a Producer was launched when she produced and co-wrote The Terminator. The film received critical and commercial acclaim, including TIME Magazine’s “10 Best List”. It was recently recognized by the Library of Congress, which chose The Terminator to be included in its highly esteemed National Film Registry.

This success was quickly followed by Aliens, which received seven nominations and two Academy Awards, and the Academy Award winning films The AbyssTerminator 2: Judgment Day, and The Ghost and the Darkness. Hurd’s additional feature credits include the Academy Award nominated Armageddon, The Incredible HulkTremorsDante’s PeakÆon FluxThe PunisherDick, and The Waterdance, which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and both the Audience and Screenplay Awards at the Sundance Film Festival.

When Hurd decided to enter the television business, she did so with a bang as Executive Producer of The Walking Dead, which currently reigns as the most-watched scripted drama, beating all broadcast and cable series among adults 18-49. The American Film Institute honored the show in both 2010 and 2012 as a “Top 10” TV program. With 15.8 million viewers tuning in to the mid-season premiere of Season 4, beating the Winter Olympics on NBC, the show will return for a fifth season. The series has also garnered two Emmy wins and was nominated by the Television Critics Association for “Program of the Year” in 2012. This year The Walking Dead nabbed the People's Choice awards for “Favorite Cable TV Drama” and “Favorite TV Anti-Hero”. Hurd is also a Consulting Producer on AMC’s top-rated spinoff talk show, Talking Dead, which recently logged 5.9 million viewers, a new series high.

Hurd’s company, Valhalla Entertainment, has an overall deal with Universal Cable Productions to develop new television and digital programs. Hurd is actively developing a number of television projects including an adaptation of Annie Jacobsen’s non-fiction best seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base for AMC and Crash and Burn, a series that follows the lives of stuntmen in the ‘70s, for the FX network.

Hurd’s new indie film, Very Good Girls, starring Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Dreyfuss, Demi Moore and Peter Sarsgaard, premiered as an official selection at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and will be released theatrically later this year.

Hurd serves on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, chairing the Producer’s Branch and is an officer of the Producers Guild of America. At the Academy she also chairs the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Committee and the Investment Committee, and for the PGA she chairs the Debra Hill Fellowship Committee and co-founded the Guild’s Produced By Conference.

In October 2012, Hurd received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hurd is also the recipient of the 2013 DiGamma Kappa Award for Distinguished Service in Broadcasting from Grady College at the University of Georgia, home of the Peabody Awards, and a 2013 Cartier Award at the Deauville American Film Festival, along with Cate Blanchett and Nicolas Cage.