MH native, film pioneer dies in L.A.
Jennifer Alward, a Morgan Hill native and pioneering female
television executive and producer, died Sept. 18, 2002 in Los
Angeles. She was 53.
MH native, film pioneer dies in L.A.
Jennifer Alward, a Morgan Hill native and pioneering female television executive and producer, died Sept. 18, 2002 in Los Angeles. She was 53.
During her 20-year producing career, Alward developed more than 75 major projects, more than 20 of which were produced. Included were the Golden Globe-nominated miniseries “Family of Spies,” “Mrs. ‘Arris Goes To Paris,” starring Angela Lansbury and Omar Sharif, and “Crusader,” a Cable Ace award nominated biography of family-planning advocate Margaret Sanger starring Rod Steiger and Dana Delaney.
For the screen, Alward originated and was credited as Consultant on “Gorillas In The Mist,” the biography of primate anthropologist Diane Fossey, and she produced “Hearts of Fire,” starring Bob Dylan. Alward founded her own production company, Morgan Hill Films, in 1986.
Alward, daughter of Forrest and Joan Alward, graduated from Live Oak High School and Cal State University, Long Beach where she received a degree in film and communications.
Alward began her entertainment industry career as press coordinator for Filmex, The Los Angeles International Film Exposition. She then began a decade of service at CBS Entertainment working in the network’s Standards and Practices department in New York and in the programming department at Television City in Los Angeles. Alward broke ground as both a woman executive and as a programmer. She brought Toronto’s SCTV group to American television and mediated sensitive censorship issues on shows including “All In The Family” and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
Alward was a perfectionist respected for her emphasis on bold projects and quality writing. Both values shone in her CBS drama “David’s Mother,” earning Emmy awards for actors Kirstie Alley and Michael Goorjian. Set among the conflicts of a mother, her autistic son and the social services system, Robert Ackerman directed the Bob Randall script that also won the coveted Humanitas Award for Television Longform Dramatic Writing and was the most honored film of the 1993-1994 television season.
Alward had sold and developed adaptations from Tennessee Williams, Horton Foote, Alexandre Dumas, Paul Gallico, Eudora Welty, and her favorite writer, Collette. At the time of her death, Alward was in pre-production on an ABC/ Disney project “Jingle,” which she was executive producing with Sandra Bullock, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot with John Landis set to direct. She was also developing a project about the Hells Angels at HBO, where she had recently prepared a mini-series about Broadway penned by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Busch.
Alward was a board member of the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, a guest lecturer at the American Film Institute, an alumni adviser to the film program at Cal State Long Beach, and a curriculum development adviser at Los Angeles City College.
In work and in play, she treasured her Northern California country girl roots. She was a former surfer, an avid gardener and a Sierra Club member. The American Diabetes Association acknowledged Jennifer’s achievement at balancing a challenging career with a difficult disease when it profiled her as a cover subject in their October 1998 issue of “Forecast” magazine.
She leaves behind husband Patrick Faulstich, founder of Accurate Representaton, a literary management and production firm, and son Joseph Faulstich, sister Lynette Ross, brother Gordon Alward and friends in London, New York, Los Angeles and Morgan Hill.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St John the Divine Episcopal Church, 17749 Peak Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA, 95037. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association.