Saint Helena Virtual Forum

WHO PUT THE FUNNY IN FEMINISM?
A round table conversation about the influence of television on the Women’s 
Movement and American cultural shifts from the 1960’s until today.

With Dr. Bonnie Dow, Dean of Academic Affairs at Vanderbilt University, Writer and Director Bill Persky, Writer and Creator Linda Bloodworth Thomason, and Actor Peter Bergman. The discussion will be hosted by former actor, writer, director and current  chairman of the Saint Helena Forum for Innovation and Creativity, Doug Barr.

A recording of this recent webcast which live streamed on September 28, 2022 can be viewed on the Live Forum page of this website.   It can also be streamed on our YouTube Channel linked here. You can also view our past webcasts both here and on YouTube.  

BONNIE J. DOW is Professor of Communication Studies and Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Arts & Science at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Watching Women’s Liberation, 1970: Feminism’s Pivotal Year on the Network News ) and Prime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women’s Movement Since 1970 .

Bonnie is co-editor of The Sage Handbook of Gender and Communication and of The Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers, Volume One: 17th –19th Centuries.  

Dow’s research interests include the rhetoric and representation of the first and second waves of feminism in the United States.

Bonnie earned her B.A. from Baylor University, M.A. from the University of Kansas and her  Ph.D from the University of Minnesota.

BILL PERSKY is an award winning writer, director, and producer for such shows as the Dick Van Dyke Show, Sid Caesar, and Kate & Allie. Bill created the Marlo Thomas classic, That Girl and from 1975 to 1982. Bill directed 22 television pilots of which 16 became network series including, “Who’s The Boss?”  He won 5 primetime Emmys and was nominated 4 additional times.

 Bill is a contributing writer to USA Today and the LA Times, a guest lecturer at NYU Film School, Yale University and Columbia University.

Bill is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Writer’s Guild of America; Giant of Television Award from The Radio and Television Executive Society, a Humanities Prize, and Doctor of Humane Letters from New Haven University where he taught and was the commencement speaker in June 2015.  His memoir, My Life Is A Situation Comedy can be found in bookstores everywhere.

LINDA BLOODWORTH - THOMASON is the creator/writer of Designing Women and Evening Shade, two of CBS Television's most successful comedy series. She also served as Executive Producer, along with her husband Harry Thomason, on three other series, Hearts Afire, Women of the House and Emeril.

She wrote episodes for Paper Moon, Rhoda, and the original pilot for the series One Day at a Time. And five episodes of the series M*A*S*H. She joined Columbia Pictures Television in 1977 as an independent producer and was producer /creator/writer on the series Filthy Rich. Thomason is the first American writer in television history to write 35 consecutive episodes of a series.

Linda has been nominated for five Prime-time Emmys and two Writers Guild Awards.

PETER BERGMAN, the son of a Naval officer was born in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Bergman appeared in numerous regional theaters across the country and several national televised commercials before landing the role of Dr. Cliff Warner on the ABC daytime television series, “All My Children”.  After ten years in the role, Peter left the show to join the cast of the CBS series, “The Young and the Restless” in the starring role of Jack Abbott.

Bergman has also guest starred in the television series “The Five Mrs. Buchanans,” “The Nanny” and “The King of Queens,” as well as made-for-television movies “Pity the Poor Soldier,” “Woman on the Ledge” and “Palomino.”

 During his 43 years on television Peter has won 3 Emmy Awards for outstanding lead actor and been nominated 24 times.

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