Individual 1998

Personal Award: Robert Halmi Sr.

Producer Robert Halmi Sr. is a dreamer and more important, a doer, in times when network television sorely needs both. In the past several seasons, Mr. Halmi has stood virtually alone as a true impresario of the small screen. His 1996 adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels for NBC was considered a giant gamble by both the network and assorted naysayers. But the four-hour production’s critical and commercial success instead spurred equally ambitious Halmi productions, such as The Odyssey, Merlin, Moby Dick and Alice in Wonderland. “I’m filling a void more than anything else,” Mr. Halmi has said. “Nobody else is doing these things—and these things should be done. Television is made for telling big stories, not for doing shallow stuff and satisfying the lowest common denominator.” At age 75, Mr. Halmi is still going stronger than most producers half his age. Projects in the works include Don Quixote, Animal Farm, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jason and the Argonauts, The Raven, Dante’s Inferno and an original 10-hour fantasy-drama titled The 10th Kingdom. Before becoming a television producer in the 1960s, Mr. Halmi fought the Nazis as a member of the Hungarian Resistance. Twice captured and liberated, he emigrated to the United States after the war and became a preeminent photographer and writer for LIFE magazine. His earlier TV productions including the classic CBS miniseries Lonesome Dove, which won a Peabody in 1989. Mr. Halm is currently chairman of the board of Hallmark Entertainment, which he runs with his son, Robert Halmi Jr. Today we are proud to present a personal Peabody Award to Robert Halmi Sr. for his extraordinary vision and exemplary television productions. He is a showman in the truest and best sense of the word.