Veteran comedy screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, known for such acclaimed box-office hits as Splash and Parenthood, have been named the recipients of the Writers Guild of America West’s 2019 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement, presented to Guild members who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter.”
The screenwriting duo will be honored at the WGAW’s 2019 Writers Guild Awards L.A. show on Sunday, February 17.
“Starting in the 1980’s with a string of critical and commercial hits, the imprint Ganz and Mandel have left on movies is profound. Their scripts are always a balancing act; funny and moving, edgy but never offensive. They understand that in order for the jokes to work, the characters have to be compelling and relatable, but never lose sight of the fact that in a comedy, you need comedy. Two truly funny, talented writers whose careers the WGAW Board of Directors is thrilled to honor with this award,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman.
WGAW members since 1972 and 1973 respectively, Ganz & Mandel made the transition from writing for television to the big screen in the early 1980s, co-writing a string of hit comedies during the decade. It began with 1982’s Night Shift, followed by 1984’s Splash (Screenplay by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel and Bruce Jay Friedman, Story by Bruce Jay Friedman), for which they received Academy and Writers Guild Award screenplay nominations and won a National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, 1985’s Spies Like Us (Screenplay by Dan Aykroyd and Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, Story by Dan Aykroyd and Dave Thomas), 1986’s Gung Ho (Screenplay by Ganz & Mandel, Story by Edwin Blum and Ganz & Mandel), which was spun-off as a TV series, based on characters created by Blum and Ganz & Mandel, and the 1989 dramedy Parenthood (Screenplay by Ganz & Mandel, Story by Ganz & Mandel & Ron Howard), which was later turned into an NBC drama series in 2010, developed by Jason Katims and based on characters created by Ganz & Mandel & Howard.
During the 90’s, Ganz & Mandel extended their successful run as screenwriting partners, co-penning the feature films City Slickers, A League of Their Own, which was turned into a TV series co-created by Ganz & Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night (Written by Billy Crystal and Ganz & Mandel), Greedy, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (Written by Crystal & Ganz & Mandel), romantic comedy Forget Paris (Written by Crystal & Ganz & Mandel), Multiplicity (Screenplay by Chris Miller & Mary Hale and Ganz & Mandel, Based on a short story by Miller), Father’s Day (based on the French film Les Comperes by Francis Veber), and “reality TV” satire EDTV.
In the new millennium, the prolific screenwriting team has continued to collaborate on such films as Where the Heart Is (based on the novel by Billie Letts), Fever Pitch (based on the novel by Nick Hornby), and the animated feature Robots, co-written by David Lindsay-Abaire.
Ganz & Mandel’s additional shared writing credits as a duo include 1988’s Vibes (Screenplay by Ganz & Mandel, Story by Deborah Blum and Ganz & Mandel), co-creating the TV series Hiller & Diller, Knight and Daye, and Take Five, and episodes of TV’s Amazing Stories.
Beyond collaborating with Mandel, Ganz’s additional writing credits include penning episodes of hit TV series The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Busting Loose, The New Odd Couple, Here’s Boomer, and futuristic satire TV movie America: 2100, often with his earlier writing partner Mark Rothman, as well as co-creating the 1979 series Makin’ It with Rothman and Garry Marshall, and the Happy Days spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi (Created by Garry Marshall, Lowell Ganz, Developed by Thomas Miller, Robert Boyett). Apart from his work with Ganz, Mandel’s additional writing credits include co-penning episodes of TV series M*A*S*H.
The WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement is awarded to Writers Guild members who have advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter. Past recipients include James L. Brooks, Elaine May, Oliver Stone, Harold Ramis, David Mamet, Paul Mazursky, Lawrence Kasdan, Eric Roth, Steven Zaillian, and Robert Towne.