GALE ANNE HURD – BIOGRAPHY
Gale Anne Hurd is one of the entertainment industry’s most prolific and esteemed producers of Academy Award-winning films and Emmy Award-winning programs that shatter both box office and ratings records. In focusing on daring material, championing technological innovations, and remaining hands-on in her approach, Hurd has carved out a leading position in the previously male-dominated world of the blockbuster, and become a recognized creator of iconic cultural touchstones.
After rising from Roger Corman’s executive assistant to head of marketing at his company, New World Pictures, Hurd’s producing career took off when she Co-wrote and produced The Terminator. Her unprecedented success with the 1984 film was quickly followed by Aliens, which received seven nominations and two Academy Awards, and additional Academy Award winning films such as The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Ghost and the Darkness and Armageddon. Some of her additional feature credits include The Incredible Hulk, Æon Flux, The Punisher, Dick, a Watergate satire which starred Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, and The Waterdance, which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and the Audience and Screenplay Awards at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, both Armageddon (1998) and Terminator 2 (1991) were the number one films at the worldwide box office in their years of release. Hurd’s most recent feature, the documentary The YouTube Effect, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022.
When Hurd entered the television industry, she met similar success. Hurd’s record-breaking AMC program, The Walking Dead, twice honored by the American Film Institute as a “Top 10” TV program, is the first series in history to reign as the most watched television drama in the coveted 18 – 49-year-old demographic for six consecutive years, as well as the highest rated cable series on television for seven consecutive years. The Golden Globe nominated series has earned a cult-like following and is nearing its conclusion with Season 11. Hurd also serves as an Executive Producer of AMC’s companion series, Fear the Walking Dead, as a Consulting Producer on AMC’s top-rated talk show, Talking Dead, and as an Executive Producer on AMC’s upcoming new series from the TWD Universe, Tales of the Walking Dead. These series air in more than 120 countries worldwide and continue to top the ratings charts throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
Hurd’s anthology series, Lore, based on the popular historical podcast of the same name, is currently streaming its first and second seasons on Amazon. Her recent Executive Producer credits also include two seasons of Falling Water for the USA Network and Hunters for Syfy.
In the non-fiction sphere, Hurd has produced three PBS documentaries, including True Whispers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers and Choctaw Code Talkers. Her latest Native American documentary, MANKILLER, examines the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and aired nationally on PBS in March 2018 for Women’s History Month. MANKILLER has screened in more than 35 film festivals worldwide, winning “Best of Fest” at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, “Best Editing” at the United Nations Association Film Festival, the “Spirit” Award at the Bozeman International Festival (out of 300 documentary and feature submissions), and “Best Documentary Feature” at the Maoriland, Rome International and Tulsa American Film Festivals.
Hurd’s latest documentary feature, The YouTube Effect, directed by Alex Winter, recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film examines how the platform has become a lightning rod for online radicalization, surveillance, algorithmic capitalism, the proliferation of misinformation, and of course, influencers and cat videos. YouTube is a world populated by some of the most brilliant minds in tech, business, media and politics, as well as pranksters, trolls and conspiracy theorists. In the fourth quarter of 2021 alone, YouTube brought in $8.6B in advertising revenue, a 25% increase in its year-to-year results. While traditional media is struggling, YouTube is thriving.
Critics have cited the doc as a critical “examination of the dangers of unchecked capitalism” (TheWrap) and stated that “The YouTube Effect may be frightening when you ponder the path as to where technology has us headed, but it’s worth taking the red pill, Matrix-style” (Film Threat).
Additionally, Hurd is a highly sought-after lecturer. Having been a guest speaker at prestigious conferences and festivals worldwide, she has been asked to share her expert view on the film industry and gender equality for numerous organizations. Some of her past speaking engagements include the International Women’s Forum in Barcelona, a two-time featured panelist at the Milken Institute Global Conference, the signing of the gender parity pledge for WIFT at Berlinale, a BAFTA spotlight speaker, the
US Embassy’s entertainment collaboration with Peru, and a Masterclass subject at both the Northern Wave Film Festival in Iceland and at the Frontières Finance & Packaging Forum in Helsinki. In addition, Hurd has spoken at UCLA Law School and on Capitol Hill with elected representatives to encourage legislation to strengthen intellectual property protections and to combat piracy. She has also served as a keynote speaker at SXSW in Austin, the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Conference, and for the BlogHer Conference.
Hurd’s distinguished career has been acknowledged by her peers. Hurd was awarded the prestigious David O. Selznick Award for Achievement in Motion Pictures by the Producers Guild, joining past honorees Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy, and Steven Spielberg. She received the 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre ’Glory to the Filmmaker’ Award from the 21st Annual Los Angeles Film Festival, and the National Women’s History Museum honored Hurd at their annual ‘Women Making History’ brunch. In 2014, Hurd was inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame, which features such honorees as Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Audrey Hepburn. In 2013, she accepted the Cartier Award at the Deauville American Film Festival, along with Cate Blanchett and Nicolas Cage. Hurd was also the 2013 recipient of the DiGamma Kappa Award for Distinguished Service in Broadcasting from Grady College at the University of Georgia, home of the Peabody Awards. And in 2012, Gale received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.