Director’s Guild of America elects first openly gay president, Paris Barclay


Small-screen director Paris Barclay has been elected as president of the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), making him not only its first black president, but its first openly gay president. 

Barclay was elected on Saturday at the Guild’s National Biennial Convention, which was held at the DGA National Headquarters in Los Angeles. He ran unopposed. The election also saw the appointment of six vice presidents, the assistant secretary-treasurer, and other new officers and members to the National Board of Directors; 147 people voted, representing over 15,000 members of the DGA.

Barclay told the Hollywood Reporter, “It’s a great time for the DGA. This is very humbling.” 

A graduate of La Lumiere School and Harvard College, Barclay is married to Christopher Barclay and is the father of two sons.

A member of the DGA since 1992, Barclay has been nominated for ten DGA awards for Outstanding Direction in Comedy and Drama Television. He is the winner of a 1998 DGA Award for the NYPD episode “Heart and Souls,” and also won two Emmys for his directing on the show. Other credits include Cold Case, NCIS: Los Angeles, Smash, House, Glee, and Sons of Anarchy.

After his election, Barclay said, “I am profoundly honored to be elected president… The DGA has worked for more than three-quarters of a century to advance the creative and economic rights of directors and their teams, and I look forward to continuing this strong tradition of service. As the son of a glass blower and a tile maker from Chicago, I am extremely humbled to have the honor to serve in the footsteps of the legendary leaders of the DGA like Frank Capra, Robert Wise and Gil Cates.”

Barclay has served previously on the National Board of Directors; he was the third vice-president from 1999 to 2005, and first vice-president from 2005 to the present.

Current president Taylor Hackford highly approves of his successor; he told the Hollywood Reporter, “There are few members who have served the Guild as thoroughly and in as many capacities as Paris Barclay—and all while maintaining an impressive career as one of the most active television directors in the business. I’m thrilled to see him take his place as the next DGA president, and I know he’ll do a terrific job navigating the DGA through whatever terrain may lie ahead.”

That terrain includes bargaining for the DGA’s renewal of its television and theatrical contracts, which will expire in mid-2014. The organization is known to begin such work early, and it’s expected that negotiation will take place in Fall 2013.

Barclay said that as they have traditionally done, the DGA will make use of outside research to decide on its positions. “We have to look at what’s fair compensation. We really are business people who look at it as a business.”

He also stated that it’s too early to predict what the main issues negotiated will be.

Also elected were Vincent Misiano as national vice president, former DGA president Michael Apted as secretary-treasurer (re-elected), and Scott Berger as assistant secretary-treasurer. In addition, elected to first through sixth vice-presidents were Betty Thomas, Gary Donatelli, Thomas Schlamme, Jace Alexander, Jon Favreau, and John LiBretto.


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