Gerald W. Abrams

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Gerald W. Abrams
Alma mater Penn State University
Occupation television producer
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Carol Ann Abrams (b. 1942- d. 2012)
Children J.J. Abrams

Gerald W. Abrams is an American television producer and the father of J. J. Abrams, best known for the large number of TV movies he has produced since the mid-1970s.[1]

Background[edit]

Gerald W. Abrams has executive produced over 70 films, most recently Christmas Shepherd and Houdini.[2] Houdini, Cable Television’s top rated Miniseries of 2014. Houdini, a two-part, four-hour miniseries for the History channel was written by Academy Award Nominated Nicholas Meyer and directed by Uli Edel. It premiered on September 1, 2014, starring Adrien Brody as Harry Houdini[3] and Co-Starring Kristin Conolly “House of Cards” and Evan Jones. The film tells the story of the legendary illusionist and escape artist who rose from poverty to worldwide fame and fortune.

Abrams has been nominated for two Emmy’s; the most recent was for Nuremberg,[4] a dramatized account of the war crime trials following the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII. Nuremberg was a four-hour mini-series for Turner Network Television starring Alec Baldwin and Christopher Plummer and directed by Yves Simoneau. Premiered in July 2000, the film was one of the highest rated cable mini-series in history, it won four Emmy Nominations, Brian Cox won for the Best Performance by a Supporting Actor, it received three Golden Globe nominations, and a Producer’s Guild Golden Laurel nomination. The film won a Gemini Award, which is Canada’s equivalent of an Emmy.

Abram’s second Emmy nomination was for Family of Spies.[5] Family of Spies is a fact-based story of John A. Walker, Jr., a Navy Chief Warrant Officer with access to top-secret cryptographic communications. As a result of mounting debts, he sold secrets to the Soviets in 1967, a practice that he continued thereafter. He further sought to involve his four children into the espionage until his wife caught on to his activities. The film was Shot in Vienna, Austria and it starred Powers Boothe and Lesley Ann Warren. Warren was nominated for an Emmy as well.

In 2005, Abrams and Bud Greenspan produced Four Minutes for ESPN, written by legendary sports illustrated writer Frank Deford and it starred Christopher Plummer, which chronicled Roger Bannister’s feat of being the first to run the mile in under four minutes. Four Minutes was nominated for an Emmy and an ESPY award.

In 2003, Abrams Executive Produced, the Emmy Nominated Television Movie Out of the Ashes[6] for Showtime, shot in Vilnius, Lithuania and it starred Christine Lahti and was directed by Joseph Sargent. Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl played by Christine Lahti, a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's applying for U.S. citizenship when she becomes accused of colluding with the Nazis. Her judge and jury are three INS investigators, played by Bruce Davison, Richard Crenna and Beau Bridges, who must decide her fate.

Based on the Best Selling Novel by Pulitzer Prize-Winner Anna Quindlen, Abrams Executive Produced Black and Blue. The film was written and adapted by April Smith, and starred Mary Stuart Masterson and Anthony LaPaglia for CBS and debuted in 1999. The film is about Frances Benedetto, a victim of domestic violence. The movie follows Frances's relationship to her increasingly abusive NYCPD officer husband, who has the police force on his side, and her eventual escape to Florida with her son.

The Defection of Simas Kudirka was executive produced by Abrams in 1978. Based on the true story of the attempted defection in 1970 by a Lithuanian seaman seeking political asylum in the United States. Kudirka was denied asylum and returned to the Soviets, charged with treason, and sentenced to ten years of hard labor. It was later discovered and verified that his mother had been born in Brooklyn and gone to Lithuania at a young age, which meant she was a U. S. citizen. As a result, Kudirka was declared a U. S. citizen and in 1974 released by the Soviets. The Defection of Simas Kudirka was nominated for five Emmy’s, David Lowell Rich won for Outstanding Directing in a Special Program, and John A. Martinelli won for Outstanding Film Editing for a Special.

In 1976, Abrams Executive Produced, The Secret Life of John Chapman. The Film starred Ralph Waite, Susan Anspach and Richard Arnold. The true story of John Chapman, a college president who took a sabbatical and went out and got a job as a general laborer, to try to experience life outside his well-ordered but insulated college environment. The Secret Life of John Chapman was produced for CBS and generated a 44 share.

Berlin Tunnel 21 was Executive Produced by Abrams in 1981. The film starred Richard Thomas, Horst Buchholz, and José Ferrer. An American soldier and a German engineer join forces, in Berlin, 1961, to build a tunnel under the Berlin Wall in order to smuggle out refugees, including the soldier's East German girlfriend.

Flesh & Blood was Executive Produced by Abrams in 1979, starring Tom Berenger, Denzel Washington, and John Cassavetes. The film is about a convict that takes up boxing in prison, which brings a new meaning to his life. Once out, his trainer motivates him to become a professional boxer. He cares about only two other things, his uncomfortably close mother and absent father. Cassavetes was nominated for an Emmy as an Outstanding Supporting Actor.

In March 2004, ABC aired The Mystery of Natalie Wood shot in Sydney, Australia, directed by Peter Bogddanovich, executive produced by Abrams and based on Suzanne Finstad’s biography of Natalie Wood. Additionally, Abrams made See Arnold Run about the historic California recall election for A&E.

Abrams produced the four-hour miniseries, Monte Carlo, shot entirely on location in France, and executive-producer of A Father's Revenge, for ABC, which was filmed in Berlin, starring Brian Dennehy and Joanna Cassidy. He executive-produced the two-hour movie for ABC and London Weekend Television, Jekyll & Hyde, starring Michael Caine and Cheryl Ladd, filmed on location in England, which was followed by Daughter Of Darkness, starring Anthony Perkins, which was filmed in Budapest, Hungary, for CBS.

Abrams also executive-produced "Daniel's Daughter" starring Laura Leighton in 2008 and "Fairfield Road" starring Jesse Metcalfe in 2010 for the Hallmark Channel, both were written by his daughter, Tracy Rosen. In 2011 he executive-produced "The Pastor's Wife" starring Rose McGowan for Lifetime Television and "The National Tree" starring Andrew McCarthy and "Duke" starring Steven Weber for the Hallmark Channel in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

In 2003, Abrams executive produced 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out, the FX Network’s highest rated show in its nine-year history.

Second Honeymoon, produced with his late wife, Carol Abrams and starring Roma Downey and Tim Matheson for CBS and shot in Puerto Rico. Following the critical success of those films, Abrams executive produced the Hallmark Channel’s A Christmas Visitor.

Abrams formed Phoenix Entertainment Group with Gerald Isenberg in July 1985. In February 1989, Phoenix was acquired by The Hearst Corporation and renamed Hearst Entertainment Productions where he served as the Co-Chairman for eight years.

In addition to his television credits, Abrams was also the executive producer of Hearts Of Fire, a theatrical film for Lorimar, starring Bob Dylan and Rupert Everett.

Abrams formed his own company, Cypress Point Productions, in 1978. Through Cypress Point, he executive-produced Letters From Frank, starring Art Carney and introducing Michael J. Fox, The Gift starring Glenn Ford and Julie Harris, Act Of Love, starring Ron Howard and Mickey Rourke, Berlin Tunnel 21, starring Richard Thomas and Horst Buchholz, Marian Rose White, starring Katherine Ross and Valerie Perrine, the CBS series Cutter To Houston, starring Alec Baldwin, Found Money, starring Dick Van Dyke and Sid Caesar, Scorned And Swindled, starring Tuesday Weld, "Florence Nightingale, and the Emmy Award winning A Woman Called Golda, starring Ingrid Bergman for Operation Primetime.[3]

Abrams graduated from Penn State University and began his television career with WCBS-TV as an account executive. He worked his way up through CBS Television national sales to head the West Coast Sales. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed General Sales Manager of KCBS-TV, the CBS-owned station in Los Angeles.

Abrams has two children, JJ and Tracy Rosen, and five grandchildren.

Christmas Shepard is Abrams next TV movie to debut. It was shot for the Hallmark channel in 2014 and starred Teri Polo, Martin Cummins, Jordyn Olson, and Ace (Buddy the Dog).

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Personal[edit]

Gerald’s late wife, Carol Abrams, is a Peabody Award winning producer and co-author of Shared Memories. They have two children: Director-producer-screenwriter J. J. Abrams, and Tracy Rosen, a screenwriter who has written TV movies and for series television.

References[edit]

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