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Michael Stevens (November 21, 1966 – October 15, 2015) was an American producer, writer and director who won seven Emmy Awards.[1]

Starting in 2002, he was the writer and producer of the annual Kennedy Center Honors. His productions of the TV special of the Honors event secured the show an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special in five consecutive years – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 – winning the award in the latter three years.[2][3]

His other work included writing and/or producing and/or directing many live events and TV productions[4] including multiple productions of the annual Christmas in Washington TV special, several presentations of the AFI's The American Film Institute Salutes… specials and HBO's inaugural celebration in 2009 for President Barack Obama.[5][6]


Personal life and educationEdit

Stevens was born into an entertainment industry family. His paternal grandfather was film director George Stevens. His father George Stevens Jr. is a producer who created the American Film Institute.[7] Other family members include actors Alice Howell and Yvonne Howell and the theatre critic, Ashton Stevens. Stevens died on October 20, 2015 of stomach cancer in Los Angeles.[8][9]

Steven was educated at the Landon School in Washington, D.C. graduating in 1985[10] and subsequently at Duke University receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Political Science in 1989. Stevens lived in Los Angeles with his producer wife Alexandra known professionally as Ali Gifford.[11][12]

Dramatic film productionsEdit

In addition to his work on live events, concerts and awards shows for television, Stevens has been involved in several dramatic films as director and producer. These include the feature films Sin starring Gary Oldman and Ving Rhames[13][14] and Bad City Blues featuring Dennis Hopper, Michael Massee and Michael McGrady[15] and the television adaptation of the Broadway play, Thurgood starring Laurence Fishburne, which he directed and produced for HBO.[16][17][18]

Music productionsEdit

An integral element of Stevens' work on the Kennedy Centers Honors shows since 2003 has been producing segments saluting musician honorees such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, the Who and Paul McCartney that feature performances by musicians including Sting, Eddie Vedder, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Grohl, Norah Jones and James Taylor. Steven's production work for the annual Christmas in Washington TV specials since 1993 has featured a large number of prominent musicians.

In 2010, Stevens conceived and produced the Bettye LaVette album The British Rock Songbook that was nominated for a Grammy Award for Outstanding Contemporary Blues album in 2011.[19]


  1. ^ "Christmas in Washington 2011 - About the Show". Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  2. ^ "The Kennedy Center Honors". 2011-12-27. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  3. ^ "Primetime Emmy® Award Database". Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Lineup for Obama HBO concert announced - The Watcher". 2009-01-12. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  6. ^ "HBO's Obama concert is for the free world". NY Daily News. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  7. ^ "George Stevens Jr.: the Man behind the Kennedy Center Honors". The Georgetowner. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  8. ^ Bernstein, Adam; Bernstein, Adam (21 October 2015). "Michael Stevens, a director of Kennedy Center Honors, dies at 48". Retrieved 17 August 2017 – via
  9. ^ Dave McNary (October 20, 2015). "Michael Stevens, Emmy-Winning 'Kennedy Center Honors' Producer, Dies at 48". Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "Landon School: Michael Stevens '85". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  11. ^ "Washington Social Diary". Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  12. ^ "Guest List for the Kennedy Center Honors Reception Hosted by the President and Mrs. Bush". 2005-12-04. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  13. ^ McCarthy, Todd (1999-11-07). "Variety Reviews - Bad City Blues - Film Reviews - - Review by Todd McCarthy". Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  14. ^ "Sin (2009)". Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  15. ^ "Bad City Blues (1999)". Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  16. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (2011-02-23). "'Thurgood' With Laurence Fishburne on HBO - Review -". Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  17. ^ Spangler, Todd (2011-02-18). "Thurgood". Variety. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  18. ^ "Thurgood: Synopsis". HBO. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  19. ^ "Bettye LaVette, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook". ANTI. Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2012-04-12.

External linksEdit