Gee Nicholl, Supporter of Academy Screenwriting Program
Beverly Hills, CA (January 14, 2009) — Gladys E. (Gee) Nicholl, a long-time benefactor of media-related activities and the widow of television writer-producer Don Nicholl, died on January 6 in Santa Barbara after a short illness. She is best known for her support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Program.
Born on December 2, 1922, in England, Nicholl danced in the Indian Ballet Company in London and also acted on stage and modeled on occasion. In the 1950s she wrote a gossip column for the London-based pop music tabloid Record Mirror and drew upon that experience in writing the story upon which her husband based his screenplay for the rock ’n’ roll feature “The Golden Disc.” When Don Nicholl was hired by Norman Lear to join the staff of “All in the Family,” the Nicholls relocated from London to Los Angeles and both resided in California for the remainder of their lives.
After her husband’s untimely death in 1980, Gee Nicholl, knowing that Don had long spoken of helping new writers get started, provided funding first for grants for students in the screenwriting program at Stanford University and then for the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Program. In the 24 years since its inception, the Nicholl Fellowships has become one of the world’s most prestigious writing awards for amateur writers. The program has given boosts to the careers of screenwriters such as Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”), Andrew Marlowe (“Air Force One”) and Mike Rich (“Finding Forrester”) as well as to Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides (“Middlesex”). For many years, Nicholl also made significant contributions to the Motion Picture and Television Fund and to the Braille Institute.
At the time of her death, Nicholl lived in Santa Barbara. She is survived by her nieces Angela Haine and Janet Elliott, who both reside in England, and by her nephew Anthony Hardy, who lives in Australia. Memorial services will be held at 12:30 p.m. on January 30 at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Hollywood Hills.