Nancy Malone

Nancy Malone

Happy Birthday, Nancy Malone (March 19)! Malone is one of Star Trek’s few female episode directors. She directed two episodes of Voyager: “Coda” and “Message in a Bottle”.

Janeway and her father in "Coda"

But Malone has blazed trails for women in other areas of the film and television industry as well. In 1942, at age 7, she began her career as a child model in advertisements. At 10 she was featured on LIFE’s 10th anniversary issue cover as “The Typical American Girl”. She held a variety of starring and guest roles in theatre, TV and film through the 1950s to the 1970s.

in 1973 Malone helped found Women in Film and Television, which now has over 35 chapters and more than 10,000 members worldwide. As she said in a 2013 interview:

My friend, Sue Cameron, was a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter. She was able to secure private information about the imbalance of women writers in TV and Film. She wrote about it in her paper. Then she called me at Twentieth Century Fox, and asked what we could do about the discrepancy. We then met in the office of Tichi Miles – President of The Hollywood Reporter – with seven other women – lawyers, PR people, development people, etc. – to contribute ideas, and express our outrage at this little-known reality. We all agreed to form a support group, and invite all the crafts to come together to correct this discrimination – which we found stretched just beyond the writers. We wrote by-laws and developed a mission statement. Women In Film was launched.

The reception at the beginning wasn’t always friendly:

The challenges were early on. Most people did not believe there was a need for this type of organization. Reactions ranged from demeaning to curious to scoffing negative. We cut through all the negativity because the need for support was great.

As she transitioned out of acting, frustrated with the types of roles she kept being offered as a “mature woman”, Malone made her mark in other ways. In 1976 Malone became the first female Vice-President of Television at 20th Century Fox. In 1977 she was awarded one of the first Crystal Awards by Women in Film for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. She won an Emmy Award for producing Bob Hope: The First 90 Years(1993) and has been nominated for acting and directing Emmys as well.

In 2007 she was inducted as an honoree into the “She Made It: Women Creating Television and Radio” collection at the Paley Center for Media.

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