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Canadian René Balcer is a former journalist and documentary filmmaker best known for producing and writing for the hit television series Law & Order.
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Writer, producer. Born February 9, 1954, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to John and Helen Balcer. While a student at McGill University, Balcer worked as a combat cameraman during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel. He graduated from McGill in 1975, then went on to pursue a graduate education at Loyola College, finishing magna cum laude in 1978. He then worked as a reporter, entertainment writer, and editor for several magazines and newspapers in Montreal, and in 1979 he cofounded The Solstice newspaper.
Balcer launched his film career when he signed on as a documentary filmmaker for the National Film Board of Canada. He directed Twist of Fate, which won a Tampure Award in 1978, and A Poet in the Family (1979). In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a screenwriting career, writing and developing films for Zoetrope, Columbia, and Paramount. He served as an advisor to the Common Sense Foundation for four years and in the meantime wrote Out on the Edge, the story of a teenage boy struggling with his parents?? divorce, which aired on CBS in 1989 and won an APA National Psychology Award in 1990. He also worked as a story editor for the series Nasty Boys and wrote the TV movie Stranger in the Family, which aired on ABC in 1991.
In 1990, Balcer signed on as a writer for Law & Order. Since then, he has written over 60 episodes of the show, winning two Edgar Awards (and another for an episode of NYPD Blue), a Peabody Award, the Golden Laurel Award from the Producers Guild of America, and the Silver Gavel Award. Since the sixth season of the show, Balcer has served as both head writer and executive producer. In 1997, he accepted Law & Order??s Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series with Richard Sweren.
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