Bill D'Elia '69: 2017-2018 Recipient
Bill D’Elia made his feature film directing debut with The Feud (1990), which he adapted from the novel of the same name by Thomas Berger. D’Elia made his television directing debut the following year, helming multiple episodes of the Emmy award-winning Northern Exposure. Today his directing credits include episodes of the Emmy award-winning series Boston Legal, The West Wing, and Glee, several movies for television, and episodes of hit series such as Blunt Talk, Grey’s Anatomy, and How To Get Away With Murder. He is the recipient of a Peabody, two Television Academy Honors Awards, eight Emmy nominations, four Golden Globe nominations, and a DGA nomination for his work in television.
Prior to directing television and film, D’Elia directed hundreds of television commercials through his own New York based production company. His commercials have received numerous industry awards, including the Addy, Clio, Telly, and the Art Director One Show awards.
From 1996 to 2000, D’Elia was executive producer/director of Chicago Hope, receiving two Golden Globe and three Emmy nominations, including his first for Directing for a Drama. In 1999, D’Elia co-created the hit drama series Judging Amy. In 2000, he became executive producer/director of the Emmy award-winning series Ally McBeal, and received two more Golden Globe nominations, another Emmy nomination for Directing for a Comedy Series, as well as a nomination for “Directing for a Comedy Series” from the Directors Guild of America.
From 2001 to 2004, D’Elia was a consulting producer/director for various television series and he directed a short comedy segment for Saturday Night Live entitled “Al Gore visits The West Wing” starring the former Vice President.
In 2004, during the final season of The Practice, he became a consulting producer/director on the show, helping David E. Kelley create the characters and settings that would become the legal dramedy Boston Legal. He then directed the pilot and executive produced the series along with Mr. Kelley. From 2005 to 2009, D’Elia received a Peabody Award and four more Emmy nominations for his work on Boston Legal, including two more nominations for Directing for a Drama. Along with Mr. Kelley, he is among the first recipients of the Television Academy Honors given by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to recognize those that create “television with a conscience” with programs that “present issues of concern to society in a compelling, emotional and insightful way.”
In 2010 he directed the pilot for Harry’s Law, starring Kathy Bates and created by David E. Kelley. While directing and executive producing the two seasons of Harry’s Law, D’Elia received another Television Academy Honor for that program.
In 2012, Bill directed and executive produced the pilot for Monday Mornings, created by David E. Kelley and based on the book written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Bill then continued to direct and, with Mr. Kelley and Dr. Gupta, executive produce the ten-part series Monday Mornings which aired on TNT in 2013.
In 2013 he directed the Comedy Central stand up special White Male. Black Comic for Comedy Central starring his son, the comedian and actor Chris D’Elia. From 2013 to 2014, Bill was executive producer/director of the CBS comedy The Crazy Ones which marked the return of Robin Williams to series television. Bill also served as an executive producer and director of the hit ABC television series “How to Get Away with Murder.”
D'Elia graduated in 1969 with a degree in television-radio from the college's Roy H. Park School of Communications.