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2000 Genii Awards

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 12, 2000 — Targeted at honoring women in the broadcasting industry, the Southern California Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television presented their 45th Annual Genii Awards today at the Beverly Hills Hilton.

Whoopi Goldberg was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, given for only the second time in the group’s 44-year history.

“I think they made a mistake,” the actress/comedienne joked, who at age 50 seems too young to be receiving such an honor. “I think it’s supposed to go to someone else, but what can I do. … It’s nice to have someone say ‘You know what, what you’re doing is good. And we appreciate it.’ Because everybody needs that.”

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Goldberg, who currently executive produces the game show “Hollywood Squares” and has another program in production for Lifetime Television, says her journey from stand-up to film was a relatively painless one.

“I was lucky because I came in holding the hand of Mike Nichols and Steven Spielberg, so nobody stopped me at the door. Which is why I’m probably still here after a lot of strange experiences. But I came in on a wave that no one could stop because I came in with these two titans walking me in,” she said.

Carole Black, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment, was honored for television production, and Southern California Broadcasters Association President Mary Beth Garber was a Genii Award recipient for radio.

Camryn Manheim, the Emmy-winning actress from “The Practice,” was the recipient of the Genii for Television Performance. Manheim credits the American Women in Radio and Television for “shining light on unbelievable accomplishments that women are making. And for that, I’m incredibly grateful.”

Manheim says she looked to role models such as Conchata Ferrell in “L.A. Law” and Kathy Najimy, “women who looked like me who weren’t the normal kind of big girl. They weren’t the self-deprecating, self-loathing, I-hate-myself girl. So I was looking for them. … We want to see ourselves represented in popular culture.”

As for her exercising her own influences, Manheim believes that her responsibility is to avoid taking demeaning or stereotypical roles, pushing positive and independent portrayals of women into the norm rather than unique situations.

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“Unfortunately, it’s new, it’s unique now,” Manheim says. “[That’s] why there’s so much light being shown on it. Ten years from now, hopefully no one will be getting awards for just setting trends for being a big woman on television, we’ll be setting different standards.”

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