Ryan Murphy to present Jim Parsons with Stephen F. Kolzak Award at 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles

March 29, 2018

Matt Goodman
Associate Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8028

Academy Award Winner Halle Berry to make first appearance at the GLAAD Media Awards

Rachel Bloom, Lena Waithe, Wilson Cruz, Anthony Rapp, Ben Feldman, Adam Rippon, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gigi Gorgeous to appear with honoree Britney Spears and host Wanda Sykes

New York, NY – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today announced that writer, producer, and director Ryan Murphy will present Jim Parsons with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. GLAAD previously announced that Britney Spears will receive the Vanguard Award at the event and that Wanda Sykes will host.

GLAAD today also announced special appearances by Halle Berry, Wilson Cruz (Star Trek: Discovery, 13 Reasons Why), Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and Ben Feldman (Superstore). They join previously announced special guests including Lena Waithe, Olympian Adam Rippon, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Gigi Gorgeous. 

The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBTQ community. The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo.

Murphy will present Parsons with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is given to an LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance. Murphy directed Parsons in the HBO television movie The New Normal, which received a GLAAD Media Award in 2015. The two are currently working on the Broadway revival of the seminal gay play Boys In The Band, with Murphy producing and Parsons starring alongside some of Hollywood’s most recognizable out actors.

The Stephen F. Kolzak award is named after a legendary casting director, who devoted the last part of his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people as well as people living with HIV. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honorees include Laverne Cox, Ellen DeGeneres, Troye Sivan, Ruby Rose, Chaz Bono, Wanda Sykes, Melissa Etheridge, Alan Ball, Pedro Zamora, Martina Navratilova, Paris Barclay, Robert Greenblatt, and Sir Ian McKellen.

Ryan Murphy is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody Award-winning writer, producer and director. He received his first GLAAD Media Award at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000 for his show Popular. Murphy also received GLAAD Media Awards in 2010 and 2011 for Glee; in 2013 for The New Normal and American Horror Story: Asylum; and in 2015 for bringing a beautiful version of The Normal Heart, starring Parsons, to HBO.Murphy’s work is again nominated this year, with Feud: Bette and Joan and American Horror Story: Cult being up for Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series. In total, Murphy’s work has won GLAAD Media Awards six times, with a further eight nominations.

Murphy’s upcoming FX series Pose will make history by featuring the most transgender series regular characters, all played by trans actors, for a scripted series.

On stage, Murphy will next team up with David Stone to produce the Broadway revival of Boys in the Band which opens on May 31, 2018. Joe Mantello directs the production which stars Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins. The landmark 1968 play was a theatrical game-changer with its focus on a group of gay men in New York City who gather for a friend’s birthday party.

“Ryan Murphy’s tireless commitment to bringing diverse LGBTQ characters and storylines to screens around the world has raised the bar in Hollywood for an entire generation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “The GLAAD Media Awards are a global platform to accelerate acceptance of LGBTQ people around the world and this year will be the loudest yet.”

GLAAD announced Jim Parsons would receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award earlier this month. Parsons is a multi-award winning actor and producer who will next be seen in A Kid Like Jake opposite Claire Danes and Octavia Spencer. The film is helmed by transgender director Silas Howard and premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and will be distributed by IFC films. Parsons produced the film through That’s Wonderful Productions which he runs with his husband Todd Spiewak. The film is set for release in June 2018. Parsons has become a fan favorite for his role as Sheldon Cooper in the long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory and is also an executive producer and narrator on the CBS hit Young Sheldon

Parsons will next appear on Broadway in the revival of the iconic comic drama The Boys in the Band. In 2014, Parsons starred in The Normal Heart, HBO’s original movie adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Larry Kramer play, written by Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy. Parsons portrayed gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. Parsons earned an Emmy nomination for his performance, and the film won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie.

“Jim Parsons’ talent, humor, and impressive body of work have made him one of the most visible and beloved out LGBTQ actors today,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “Parsons not only proudly tells LGBTQ stories through his roles, but also works behind the camera with his husband Todd to tell LGBTQ stories that raise the bar for Hollywood and inspire acceptance.”

The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards continue in New York City on Saturday, May 5. During that ceremony, Samira Wiley will receive the Vito Russo Award and Ross Mathews will serve as host. Special guests include Halsey, Laverne Cox, Asia Kate Dillon, Lea Michele and Wrabel. 

In January, GLAAD announced 125 nominees in 21 English-language categories and 16 Spanish-language nominees in 4 categories. The nominees for the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced during the Sundance Film Festival by actors Wilson Cruz (“13 Reasons Why,” “Star Trek: Discovery”) and Trace Lysette (“Transparent”). Nominees across entertainment and news media included This Is UsCall Me by Your NameLady BirdBattle of the SexesA Fantastic WomanBillionsThe VoiceWill & GraceAndi Mack, Halsey, Kesha, Kehlani, Teen VogueThe Daily Show with Trevor NoahNBC Nightly News, HuffPost, and CNN en Español. GLAAD announced a Special Recognition Award for Jay-Z’s song and music video “Smile” featuring his mother Gloria Carter who used the song to come out as a lesbian as well as a Special Recognition Award to the animated short film In A Heartbeat. Nominees can be found here: www.glaad.org/mediaawards/nominees

To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards.

The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards corporate partners include Presenting Partners Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo. GLAAD is also grateful to: Official Partner Bud Light; Platinum Partners 21st Century Fox, Allstate Insurance Company, AT&T, Creative Arts Agency (CAA), Comcast NBCUniversal | Telemundo, Disney ABC Television Group | ESPN, Hyundai, Kaiser Permanente, Kelley Drye, MetLife, NBA | WNBA, Netflix, Omnicom Group, SheppardMullin, Southwest Airlines, and Turner; Gold Partners CBS | Showtime, Facebook, Nielsen, PwC, UM, Univision, Warner Bros.; and Silver Partners Coca-Cola, Hornet, Major League Baseball, Morgan Stanley, Pride Media, Skadden, Variety, and WWE. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, purchase tickets, and place a tribute in the tribute book, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards.