Under the leadership of Mark Wolper, THE WOLPER ORGANIZATION has been responsible for over 500 films, which have won more than 150 awards, including two Oscars, 50 Emmys, seven Golden Globes, five Peabody’s, and recognition and retrospectives from Cannes and other respected international film festivals.
The Wolpers’ first and continuing love is with the documentary. Beginning in 1958, David L. Wolper created The Wolper Organization to produce the Oscar-nominated The Race for Space, narrated by Mike Wallace. Such prestigious theatrical and television documentaries as The Making of the President (1960), winner of five Emmys; The Making of the President 1964 and 1968; A Nation of Immigrants (1967), based on John F. Kennedy’s book; The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971), winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Film and an award at the Cannes Film Festival; This Is Elvis (1980); and Imagine: John Lennon (1988). The Wolpers also produced the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The Wolper Organization originated such documentary series as National Geographic, Biography, Jacques Cousteau Specials, David Wolper Presents…Plimpton!, American Heritage and Primal Man.
Mark Wolper looks at 'reality' as just a new name for 'documentary'. Some of Mark Wolper's earliest professional experience included producing forty-four episodes of the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Since the mid-2000's, Mark has guided The Wolper Organization into becomming one of the premiere non-scripted television production entities, producing Emmy-nominated fare such as Penn & Teller: BULLSH*T! and Instant Beauty Pageant. Having just completed its eigth season, the four-time-Emmy-nominated Penn & Teller: BULLSH*T! has become Showtime's longest-running series. Instant Beauty Pageant ran for three season on Style and was nominated for an Emmy.
The Wolpers have produced over forty episodes of the hit reality series, Bait Car, on Tru TV. For A&E, The Wolper Organization produced God or the Girl, a series following five potential seminarians and their journey to the decision to join the priesthood, or not and L.A. Gangs, about the LA Sheriffs Dept.'s gang intervention unit. Penn & Teller: Off the Deep End is a two hour primetime special for NBC shot in the Caribbean with the talented pair performing a magic show underwater. Earth Angel, a sort of "positive Punk'd" special that sought out worthy people who have made an unusual and selfless contribution to their fellow man, was produced and broadcast on Lifetime. Also for Showtime, Mark Wolper produced a documentary on medical marijuana titled In Pot We Trust. At the end of the last century, the Wolpers produced Legends, Icons and Superstars of the 20th Century for Discovery on People, and Celebrate the Century for CNN.
Currently, Mark Wolper is producing a number of pilots and presentations for various networks, including How Many People Does it Take To? for History, Human Trafficking (in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security) for Showtime and Behind the Sign for Lifetime.
Past pilots and presentations include Back to High School for CBS, Wild Life for ABC Cable Networks, The Greatest Show on Earth, U.S. Marshals and Yonkers P.D. for TNT, , Unmarried to the Mob for TBS, Dressed to Close for Style, Love Decoys for Tru TV, ROOTS: The Journey Home for Discovery and Eath Angel for Lifetime, Inside the Mind of Robin Williams, Love on the Run and Project X for Showtime, Holy Joe for The WB, G.A.M.E. for Spike, Trial by Jury for NBC and Secrets of a Small Town for FX.
The Wolper Organization, through an ongoing relationship with WARNER BROS., has produced many landmark films and television projects. Our most recent feature release was 1997’s critically acclaimed L.A. Confidential, a film about corruption in the early years of the LAPD, based on James Ellroy’s novel, starring Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Kim Basinger. L.A. Confidential was chosen Best Picture by the NY Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, garnered five Golden Globe nominations, including best picture, and won two Oscars; one for Best Supporting Actress and one for Best Screenplay. The Wolper Organization has also produced, among others, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1972), Murder in the First (1994) starring Kevin Bacon, Christian Slater and Gary Oldman, and Surviving Picasso (1996), in association with Merchant/Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins.
The Wolper Organization’s greatest achievements are in the arena of television longform. After creating the miniseries, The Wolper Organization mastered the form, creating some of the most acclaimed and highest rated programming of all time. Roots (1977, ABC), a 12-hour miniseries tracing Alex Haley’s ancestry, and Roots: The Next Generation (1978, ABC) a 14-hour miniseries that concludes Alex Haley’s story, are the two highest rated programs in television and won a total of 11 Emmys. The Thorn Birds (1983), a 10-hour miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain won six Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes and is still among the top ten most watched programs in Television history. In 1985 and 1986, The Wolper Organization produced North and South for ABC, a 24-hour miniseries based on John Jakes’ best-selling novels about the friendship between a Northern industrial family and a Southern plantation family prior to and throughout the Civil War. In 1994, the saga continued in the six-hour miniseries for ABC, Heaven and Hell. Alex Haley’s saga was revisited in Roots Christmas: Kunta Kinte’s Gift (1988, ABC), and in the four-hour miniseries Queen (1993) for CBS. Staring Halle Berry, Danny Glover, Martin Sheen, Anne-Margret and Ossie Davis, Queen chronicles the story of Alex Haley’s paternal grandmother.
In addition to such event programming, The Wolper Organization has produced numerous movies for television including The Court-Martial of Lt. William Calley (1974); Collision Course: Truman Vs. MacArthur (1975); Victory at Entebbe! (1976), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas; Agatha Christie’s Murder Is Easy (1982, CBS); The Betty Ford Story (1987, ABC) which won an Emmy for star Gena Rowlands; Murder in Mississippi (1989, NBC) starring Tom Hulce; When You Remember Me (1990, ABC), starring Ellen Burstyn; Dillinger (1990, ABC), starring Mark Harmon; A Bed of Lies, starring Susan Dey; and Marina’s Story, starring Helena Bonham Carter, which chronicled the life of Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife.
In the late 1990s, the Wolpers produced A Will of Their Own, the sweeping story of women’s progress in 20th century America, and To Serve and Protect, a contemporary look at three generations of Texas Rangers, both for NBC. The Wolper Organization transformed the fantasy bestseller The Mists of Avalon into an epic TNT miniseries starring Julianna Margulies, Anjelica Huston, and Joan Allen. In the hands of director Uli Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn), this $20 million production handsomely conjures up the mystical Isle of Avalon as it retells the Arthurian Legend from a female perspective. The project garnered 9 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Miniseries as well as Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie nods for both Huston and Allen.
Two distinctive Wolper projects aired in 2004. In May, Wolper produced writer/director John Gray's compelling re-interpretation of Vincent Bugliosi's harrowing book, Helter Skelter, based on Bugliosi's account of prosecuting the Charles Manson murders. In June, TNT aired the four-hour adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot, adapted by Peter Filardi (Flatliners) and starring Rob Lowe - the highest rated longform on cable this year, in a debut that beat the major networks in the ratings. In 2005, Wolper produced Snow Wonder, a magical and romantic Christmas movie, written by Rodney Vaccaro, and produced for CBS with Created By and Ragna Nervik. For NBC, Mark Wolper produced a remake of the Rankin-Bass Christmas classic The Year without a Santa Claus into a live-action holiday event for December 2006. Most recently, a remake of the 1976 film Sybil was produced for CBS.
|David L. Wolper|
|Mark M. Wolper|
David L. Wolper Center at USC
|Explore the Archives and view the entire Wolper Video & Photo Collection.|
2012 BAIT CAR
David L. Wolper
|Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Widescreen Special Edition)|
|Roots (Four-Disc 30th Anniversary Edition)|