Comm Arts honors legendary film producer Walter Mirisch

December 17th 2009
Arts & Humanities, Awards, Giving
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Communication Arts Chair Sue Zaeske (left) with Chancellor Biddy Martin and UW Alumnus Walter Mirisch.

The Communication Arts Department was pleased to host a special event on October 15, 2009 to honor the distinguished UW alumnus Walter Mirisch.

Over 100 guests were on hand to recognize Mirisch and to learn about his many achievements. Among campus leaders in attendance were Chancellor Biddy Martin, WAA CEO Paula Bonner, Dean Gary Sandefur, and several members of the Letters and Science Board of Visitors.

Communication Arts Chair Susan Zaeske and Dean Sandefur welcomed guests and thanked Mirisch for his support of the Department and the College. Emeritus Professor Tino Balio led a discussion with Mirisch which reviewed his fascinating career.

After graduating from UW-Madison (History, ‘42), Mirisch launched a brilliant career as a film producer spanning 60 years. He produced such popular hits as The Magnificent SevenSome Like It Hot, and the Pink Pantherfilms.

Emeritus Professor Tino Balio leads the discussion with Walter Mirisch.

As head of the Mirisch Company, he garnered three Academy Awards for best motion picture in the course of his career, forThe ApartmentWest Side Story, and In the Heat of the Night.

Mirisch has been a long-time friend and supporter of the Communication Arts Department and the university.  His gifts to Communication Arts made possible the creation of the Mirisch Seminar Room in Vilas Hall, a state-of-the art teaching and conference room. He has also served for many years on the L&S Board of Visitors and has been active in alumni outreach on the west coast.