Director Yvonne MacKay, Larry and Margaret Mahy on the set of Kaitangata Twitch, 2009.
Larry and Jocelyn Stevenson, 2009.
Larry and Jim Henson in Larry’s office on Fraggle Rock, 1985.
Susan Juhl, Jerry Juhl, Larry, and Jocelyn Stevenson on the set of Fraggle Rock, 1986.
On the Fraggle Rock set with Jerry Juhl.
Lawrence S. Mirkin
1 William Morgan Drive
Toronto, Ontario M4H 1N6
Lawrence S. Mirkin has produced over 200 television programs and has worked on many others as writer or executive story editor. These programs encompass many kinds of entertainment for children, families, and adults. His productions have appeared on NBC, PBS, and HBO in the United States, CBC, Showcase Television, CTV, APTN, and TVO in Canada, and variously around the world, winning or nominated for such diverse honors as the Emmy, the Gemini, the Ace, the Monitor, and the International Emmy, among others.
Mr. Mirkin is currently producing the second season of “What’s Your News?” Created and co-produced by longtime collaborator Jocelyn Stevenson and her colleagues at TT Animation, “What’s Your News?” is a combination of sophisticated, motion-capture puppetry and live action with real kids. A co-production between TT Animation (UK) and Lenz Entertainment (Canada), the show began airing on Nov. 30, 2009 on Kids’ CBC to great audience support and critical acclaim. The show began airing on Sprout in the US on Dec. 31, 2010. “What’s Your News?” was the winner of the 2009 Japan Prize, one of three finalists in its category for the 2010 Prix Jeunesse, and won a Special Jury Award in 2011 from the Youth Media Alliance.
Mr. Mirkin had a long freelance relationship with Jim Henson, producing “Fraggle Rock” and “The Jim Henson Hour,” as well as consulting on many other projects, including the feature films “Labyrinth” and “The Witches.” With Jocelyn Stevenson he also produced the special features for each season’s Deluxe Box Set of “Fraggle Rock” (for The Jim Henson Company and HIT Entertainment.)
Recently, Mr. Mirkin wrote the first draft of a feature film entitled “Cracked!” for CCI Entertainment. He also wrote the Writer’s Guide for “My Portable Ghosts,” a series for older children/young adults his company is developing with Production Shed of New Zealand. It is based on a novel by 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award winner, Margaret Mahy.
Mr. Mirkin directed an episode of “Big and Small” for Lenz Entertainment and Kindle Entertainment (BBC/Treehouse) and co-wrote (with Patti Caplette) a stage play, “Franklin et les Aventures des Courageux Chevaliers,” based on the Franklin characters created by Paulette Bourgeois. Produced by Koba Entertainment, it premiered in Paris in October 2008 and opened in Toronto in 2010. He also consulted with director and producer Yvonne MacKay on Production Shed’s family mini-series, “Kaitangata Twitch,” based on the novel Margaret Mahy of New Zealand. The series premiered on Maori TV in New Zealand in May 2010 and on the ABC in Australia shortly thereafter. It was a finalist at the 2010 Prix Jeunesse.
Mr. Mirkin is the Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for the Children’s Entertainment Program at Centennial College, a program he and other professionals and educators helped to develop to train post-graduate students for careers in children’s entertainment. He also teaches A Survey of Children’s Entertainment, which is an introduction to the “classic” work for children in many forms – books, films, television, etc.
Mr. Mirkin co-created, produced and wrote a number of episodes of “Longhouse Tales” for Catalyst Entertainment (Toronto) and TeleImages (Paris). For Nelvana and Silver Lining Productions (NY), Mr. Mirkin wrote the Bible for two series based on award-winning U.S. children’s author Rosemary Wells’ works, “Timothy Goes to School” (PBS) and “Max and Ruby” (Nick Jr.). He also executive story edited and wrote a number of episodes of “Weird Years” (Lenz Entertainment/YTV). His other writing for children includes episodes for the CBC/BBC/PBS/Catalyst series, “Noddy and Friends,” “Monster by Mistake” (YTV/ Buena Vista), “Time Blazers” (YTV/Discovery Kids), “Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs” (CCI/Collingwood O’Hare/Cartoon Network), and a feature-length animated film for family audiences of “The Raccoons,” created and produced by Kevin Gillis. Mr. Mirkin was also part of the original development team for “Dragon Tales” for Columbia/TriStar and the Children’s Television Workshop.
Mr. Mirkin also produces and/or writes for older audiences. As a writer Mr. Mirkin recently finished a draft of “Liddell” (for TriCord Film and Television), a feature film based on the life of Olympic Champion Eric Liddell (“Chariots of Fire”) about his life after the Olympics as a missionary in China.
Mr. Mirkin developed a six-hour limited series entitled “Fare Game” with CCI Entertainment Ltd for Craig Broadcasting. He wrote two episodes and supervised the writing of the rest. A murder mystery, the mini-series is a spin-off of the television movie, “The Ride,” which he and Mirkin Creative Inc., produced with Mr. Zipursky and Cambium Film and Television for Showcase Television (Alliance/Atlantis Broadcasting). It was nominated for consideration at the 2002 Monte Carlo Film and Television Festival in the category of “Television Movie,” eligible for awards as best television movie, script, direction, actor and actress. The project was co-created with Paul Dreskin, who wrote the Gemini-nominated script. More recently, Mr. Mirkin wrote a feature film adaptation with novelist Joy Fielding her best-selling love story, “The First Time.” It is represented by the William Morris Company.
For Cambium Film and Video, Mr. Mirkin produced the final two seasons of the family sitcom, “Eric’s World,” which was a 1995 nominee for the Award of Excellence by the Alliance for Children’s Television. He was an uncredited story editor on the final draft of the 1993 futuristic thriller, Margaret Mahy’s “Typhon’s People.” That project was a four-hour New Zealand miniseries produced by The Gibson Group, directed by Yvonne MacKay and starring Alfred Molina, Greg Wise, and Lucy Lawless.
Mr. Mirkin has usually been the “show runner” of his productions (back when it was simply called “producer”) and has always had a strong hand in the development of the programs he has produced. His other writing credits include the award-winning adaptation of David Giles’ production of “Six Characters in Search of An Author” and multiple episodes of “Groundling Marsh,” Portfolio Productions’ children series for YTV and The Disney Channel, one of which was a 1997 nominee for the Best Program Award from the Association for Children’s Television (Canada). He produced and moderated the 1992 David Billington Writers’ Seminars at the Banff Festival, calling it “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FICTION?” He also adapted the mystery comedy, “Above Suspicion,” a feature film, for the Gibson Group (N.Z.) and Lisa Goldstein’s American Book Award Winner, the Holocaust fantasy, “The Red Magician.”
A citizen of Canada and of the United States, Mr. Mirkin received a B.A. degree from Yale College and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. He was the literary manager of the Mark Taper Forum from 1973-75 after which he joined the CBC-TV drama department as a story editor and eventually becoming a producer. He produced a number of award-winning programs, including “Maintain the Right” and “The Best of Both Worlds” (both ACTRA Nominees for Best Television Program of the Year.) During this time period, he was also the dramaturge for John Hirsch’s famous production of “The Three Sisters,” starring Maggie Smith, Martha Henry, and William Hutt, at the Stratford Festival. From 1987-88, he produced the 17-hour adult drama series “Mount Royal” for Alliance Communications Corporation, airing on CTV.
From June 1991 to September 1992, Mr. Mirkin was Vice-President, Drama for Primedia Productions, supervising the development and production of all drama projects, including “Lifeline to Victory,” a television movie directed by Eric Till for CanWest/Global Television. Prior to joining the staff of Primedia, Mr. Mirkin was creative producer on four episodes of Confederations Life’s Stage on Screen Series, including the Gemini Award winning “La Maison Suspendue” by Michel Trembley.