The Robert H. Jackson Center recently announced that media personality, writer and film producer Phil Donahue will make a rare appearance at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville for ''Dinner with Donahue'' on Sunday, Aug. 10, beginning at 5 p.m.
Donahue changed the face of American daytime television, pioneering the audience-participation talk format as the host of the "Donahue" show, a 29-year run which stands as the longest of its kind in U.S. television history. His contribution to TV journalism and entertainment has earned him 20 Emmy Awards - nine as host and 11 for the show - as well as the George Foster Peabody Award; the President's Award from the National Women's Political Caucus; the first Media Person of the Year Award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance; and induction into the Academy of Television's Hall of Fame. In 1996, TV Guide named Donahue one of the Greatest Television Shows of All Time.
In addition to forging a new format in talk TV, Donahue has been lauded for his penetrating, groundbreaking interviews with world leaders, celebrities and newsmakers throughout his career - including Muhammad Ali, Johnny Carson, Ayn Rand, Nelson Mandela, Madalyn Murray O'Hair (his first Donahue guest), Margaret Meade and all of the presidents since Jimmy Carter. In 1985, he introduced satellite ''spacebridge'' telecasts between the United States and the then Soviet Union, co-hosted by Russian political commentator Vladimir Pozner. The following year, he brought his talk show to Russia for a week of programs, and was the first Western journalist to visit Chernobyl after the nuclear accident there.
Beyond his talk shows, Donahue has also headlined numerous network and public television specials, including the Emmy Award-winning children's special, Donahue and Kids, the landmark Ryan White Talks to Kids about AIDS and The Human Animal; an exploration of human behavior which was also a five-part, primetime series that aired on the NBC television network.
In 2006, Donahue co-produced and co-directed Body of War, a feature-length documentary film that probed the wrenching journey of Thomas Young, a young Iraq War veteran who was paralyzed by a bullet to his spinal column, leaving him in a wheelchair and questioning America's involvement in the war. Hailed by critics as ''almost unbearably moving'' (Time magazine) and ''emotionally ravaging a ferocious film'' (The Washington Post), Body of War played to thunderous ovations across the country, winning the Best Documentary award from the National Board of Review; the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival; and a People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Along with his TV and film work, Donahue is an admired writer whose essays and opinion columns have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of the best-selling memoir, ''Donahue: My Own Story;'' and ''The Human Animal.''
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, the father of five children and a grandfather of two, Donahue is married to award-winning actress, author and activist Marlo Thomas. They live in New York.
The Jackson Center would like to thank Chautauqua Suites, DFT Communications, Philips Lytle, Shults Auto Group and Star Media Group for their generosity in underwriting costs for the event.
Tickets for the event are $100, and include a reception in Donahue's honor, dinner - and a retrospective look at his career in television and journalism. Proceeds from the event will benefit Youth Education Initiatives at the Robert H. Jackson Center.
To purchase tickets please contact either the Jackson Center at 483-6646, or Chautauqua Suites, 215 W. Lake Road in Mayville, 716-269-7829. A portion of the ticket price is considered a tax deductible donation. Reserve early, as seating is limited.
The Robert H. Jackson Center presents and interprets the inspirational life and extraordinary accomplishments of Robert H. Jackson: public servant and statesman, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and Chief U.S. Prosecutor at Nuremberg. Located at 305 E. Fourth St., Jamestown, the center is open for guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at www.roberthjackson.org. To schedule a tour outside of regular hours, please contact the Jackson Center at 483-6646.