Hollywood producers to gain honors at GLAAD awards

NEW YORK Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:39am EDT

Actress and singer Liza Minnelli arrives at the Human Rights Campaign Annual Gala with award recipients Craig Zadan (L) and Neil Meron, in Los Angeles March 6, 2004. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Actress and singer Liza Minnelli arrives at the Human Rights Campaign Annual Gala with award recipients Craig Zadan (L) and Neil Meron, in Los Angeles March 6, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hollywood producing duo Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will receive a top honor when the gay and lesbian watchdog group GLAAD presents its 23rd annual media awards in March, the group said on Thursday.

Zadan and Meron, film and television producers known for such movies as the Oscar-winning "Chicago," "Hairspray" the new musical television show "Smash," will receive the Vito Russo Award, named after one of GLAAD's founders, at a March 24 ceremony in New York.

The New York ceremony will be hosted by Glee's Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera. Joining them on stage will be Harvey Weinstein who will present high school student Katy Butler a special award in recognition of her anti-bullying efforts.

"Through many of their projects, Zadan and Meron have been trailblazers in telling the stories of the LGBT community," the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said in a statement, citing such television movies as "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" and "What Makes a Family."

Their current series "Smash" features a prominent gay character, GLAAD noted. The award will be presented by actress Bernadette Peters and is given to prominent, openly gay media professionals who have made strong contributions toward promoting LBGT equality, GLAAD said.

Other honorees announced on Thursday include "Grey's Anatomy" writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, who won the Golden Gate Award, Wells Fargo which will receive the Corporate Leader Award and social media site Facebook, which will receive a special recognition award.

All three will be presented at the group's San Francisco ceremony on June 2.

Facebook was cited for its strong stand and leadership around bullying prevention.

Dakota Fanning, Martha Plimpton, Carson Kressley, Padma Lakshmi and "Jersey Shore" cast member Vinny Guadagnino were also slated to appear at the New York show.

Nominees for the award's competitive categories were announced in January, and included Chaz Bono, the movie "Beginners" and the television comedy "Modern Family."

Guests at the Los Angeles awards include Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Paquin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Betty White and the rest of the cast of her show, "Hot in Cleveland."

GLAAD, which promotes positive images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the media, will present additional media awards in Los Angeles on April 21.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Christine Kearney)