Phil donahue

TV pioneer Donahue to receive O’Neill award

Phil Donahue, center of photo, was co-grand marshal of the St. Pat's For All Parade in Sunnyside and Woodside in March.

Television talk-show pioneer, writer, and film producer Phil Donahue will receive the 2017 Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, the Irish American Writers & Artists has announced. It will be presented on the 129th anniversary of O’Neill’s birth, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O'Grady's, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street). The event starts at 6 p.m.

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Kathleen Walsh D'Arcy, IAW&A Board Member and Co-Chair of the St. Pat's For All Parade, praised the choice of Donahue. "He has always been the ultimate Irish American voice for truth and justice in media," she said. "As our parade Grand Marshal last March, he spoke about human rights, LGBTQ rights, and an Irish history of immigration that shows we should embrace new waves of immigrants from around the world."

The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician or other artist whose body of work exemplifies the level of integrity established by O’Neill. “As a groundbreaking communicator of proven principle, Phil Donahue certainly meets this criterion,” the IAW&A said in a statement..

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Phil Donahue spent a decade as a Dayton, Ohio reporter and radio interviewer of such notables as John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X before creating the innovative “The Phil Donahue Show,” which often focused on topics dividing liberals and conservatives in America and was the first TV talk show to incorporate audience participation. On national American television for 29 years, “The Phil Donahue Show” remains the longest continuous run of any syndicated TV talk show in U.S. history. During his career, Phil Donahue garnered 20 Emmy Awards, ten for Outstanding Talk Show Host, and 10 for “The Phil Donahue Show.” He received a Peabody Award in 1980, and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1993.

In July 2002, after seven years of retirement, Phil Donahue returned to the air with Donahue on MSNBC only to have the show cancelled in February 2003 because of Donahue’s public opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

"Apart from Mr. Donahue's many artistic triumphs,” said IAW&A President Larry Kirwan, “Irish American Writers and Artists, as a progressive organization, is proud to salute his political activism and his very meaningful and costly protest against the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

The previous Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award honorees were Pulitzer Prize winning author William Kennedy; actor and noted O'Neill interpreter Brian Dennehy; co-founders of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly; singer, songwriter, author, and activist Judy Collins; playwright and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley; journalist and author Pete Hamill; editor and writer Patricia Harty, and actor, author, and radio host Malachy McCourt.

Held in the Times Square district of New York City, just a few blocks north of where O’Neill was born, the Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Celebration begins at 6 p.m and continues until 9 p.m.

For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website:

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