Award-winning writer/producer Kirk Ellis won two Emmys, a Golden Globe, a Writers
Guild of America Award, a Peabody award, and the Humanitas Prize for his work on
“John Adams” starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. Ellis wrote and co-executive
produced the seven-part HBO miniseries, which is based on David McCullough’s Pulitzer
Prize-winning biography. The miniseries scored a record 23 nominations; second only
to “Roots” in Emmy history, and won a record breaking 13 Emmys in total, as well
as four Golden Globe awards.
Ellis made his feature film debut writing and co-producing “The Grass Harp,” based
on the coming-of-age novel by Truman Capote. He has also collaborated on projects
with such esteemed directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Roland Joffe, and William Friedkin.
He received an Emmy nomination and won the Writers Guild of America and the Humanitas
Prizes for the ABC miniseries “Anne Frank” which he wrote and co-produced. Additional
credits include writing the award-winning ABC miniseries “The Beach Boys: An American
Family”; co-executive producing “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” (which
earned him a Critics’ Choice Award); and writing “The Three Stooges” telefilm. Ellis
will continue his association with McCullough and the American Revolution on his
next project for HBO, “1776,” produced with Tom Hanks’ Playtone Co.
For the big screen, Ellis has written "Escape," the true story of Carolyn Jessop,
who escaped from a plural marriage in a fundamentalist Mormon compound under the
leadership of Warren Jeffs. In addition, Ellis recently completed a rewrite of a
big-screen version of the Lewis and Clark story. Other projects include a feature
film based on A.E. Hotchner's memoir, "Papa Hemingway"; a miniseries for Robert Halmi
and ABC depicting the true story of the Von Trapp Family made famous in "The Sound
of Music"; "Black Gold: The Teapot Dome Scandal," based on the book by Laton McCartney
about the notorious oil-for-votes scandal that rocked 1920s Washington; and a weekly
HBO series about the agribusiness world, developed in association with George Clooney's
Ellis' collaboration with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks brought Ellis the Western
Writers of America’s Golden Spur Award for Best Drama Script for “Hell on Wheels,”
an episode of the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated TNT/DreamWorks miniseries “Into
the West,” on which Ellis served as supervising producer and writer. He also received
the Wrangler Award for Best Television Feature from the National Western Heritage
Museum for his work on the miniseries. Kirk will be speaking at 11:00 am on Sunday.