Dr. Donald A. Reed (1935-2001)

We all have to thank one individual who spent his life following his passion, sacrificing in many ways to accomplish his goals, and leading us through 30 years of devotion to his goals: honoring, recognizing and promoting genre entertainment: Dr. Donald A. Reed. He  must be considered in the annals of history no less than a pioneer in what he was able to accomplish: building a viable organization from just an idea. His thought was "there should be an organization which pays tribute to the films and filmmakers who work in genre fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror".

When he conceived the idea of an Academy back in 1972, he had no precendents to follow. Othern than the Academy of Motion  Picture Arts and Sciences and The Golden Globes, there were no other major organizations presenting awards to feature film entertainment. With his passion as his driving force, he gathered together his contacts (which he cultivated from his earlier group, The Count Dracula Society) and began the process of voting awards to genre entertainment. With the huge success of  "Star Wards", he took his simple show to a new level: syndicated television. In the 80's he expanded his awards honors to television, in the 90's to home video releases. He developed alongside his protege & best friend, Robert Holguin, the idea of honoring DVD releases. Dr. Reed was quite excited about honoring this new medium but his untimely passing cut short his seeing the new venture consummated. Dr. Reed died in 2001 at age 65.

Dr. Donald A. Reed was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 22, 1935. He was raised there by his parents until they moved to Los Angeles when he was seven. They moved into their comfortable home in Los Angeles in 1941. Dr. Reed would make his  home until the day he died in 2001. He was a Roman Catholic.

Dr. Donald A. Reed was a learned individual having spent over 10 years earning several degrees from Universities. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Loyola University (1957), his Masters in Library Science from The University of Southern California (1958), and his Juris Doctor Degree (1968) from USC.

Dr. Reed became an educator teaching at Woodbury University, Valley College, and in 1995 at Columbia College. He was a librarian at Cal Arts (California Institute of the Arts). He met Walt Disney while employed there.

He involved himself in many groups throughout his lifetime. He was President of the Calvin Coolrige Society,a member of The Gilbert and Sullivan Society, involved in politics with the Young Democrats of California, a lifelong member of the ACLU, belonged to the Titanic Society, President of the Don Johnson Fan Club, and an author of several books.

He wrote Robert Redford: A Look at his Films, Science Fiction Film Awards, The Vampire on the Screen, and Admiral Leahy at Vichy France.

He was founder of several other organization: The Count Dracula Society, The Academy of Family Films and Television, and the Council of Film Organizations. He was a film reviewer on cable access (Reviewing Films From the Academies). He was considered the leading scholar on Count Dracula (World Almanac Book of Buffs) and belonged to several prominent organization: The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The Grammy Academy, The Cable Academy, The Academy of Country Music, The Academy of Magical Arts, and the Golden Satellite Awards.

His interests included: the Civil War, King Tut, the ordeal of Lizzle Borden, the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's baby, the historical events involving the sinking of the Titanic, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Calvin Coolidge, World Politics, the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, Cole Porter, Civil liberties, law, and most of all, film, particularly science fiction, fantasy and horror.

His favorite horror film was THE MUMMY, his favorite fantasy film was THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD, his favorite science fiction film was FORBIDDEN PLANET (until STAR WARS came along). His favorite film of all time was Charlie CHaplin's CITY LIGHTS. Other  favorites included: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Casablanca, and Sunset Boulevard.

He once owned a book store in Santa Monica. He was a librarian who would often be called a substitute at locations around  Los Angeles. He was the head researcher working in a law firm. He worked closely on a case which dealth with the civil liberties of a conscientious objector (in the 60's) which set precedent in this country.

His collections on film and history were extensive. He accumulated one of the largest collections on Robert Redford. He was asked to donate his collections to one of the leading Utah Universities and a room would be named after him (The Donald A. Reed  room), but he preferred to retain his collection.

He met and befriended many people over the years. From Richard Correll to Douglas Wick, Rouben Mamoulian, Randal Kleiser, Dean Devlin, Gale Anne Hurd, Roger Corman, Gene Roddenberry, George Pal, Vincent Pricce, Bryan Singer, Larry Cohen, Frank Marshall, Joe Dante, William Friedkin, Ray Bradbury, Robert Wise, Wes Craven, he knew them all.

Dr. Reed was considered a leading scholar in genre entertainment. He was often interviewed on these subjects. He loved to teah, educate, and enlighten those around him. He in particular loved socializing with young adults as this would give him an opportunity to tell his stories and teach and enlighten them with his knowledge. His personality was very open and friendly. He was very approachable and would never hesitate in helping anyone who needed it. He was a kind and gentle person, very much a man of peace.

In 1982, he was a victim of a tragic car accident which left him disable for over two years. As he recovered from the accident,
he never completely regained his strength. Prior to the accident, he was like a bundle of energy. Following his accident he slowed
down considerably.

He developed diabetes in 1989 and became dependent on insulin injections. He soon developed heart troubles which led to triple
by-pass surgery in 1998. He suffered from diabetic neuropathy (pain in the legs due to diminished blood circulation). In 1999, he
went into the hospital as he developed congestive heart failure. It was reversed and he came home. He suffered from anemia and
in 2001 went into the hospiral for blood transfusion. The process was just too much for him and he went into cardiac arrest. He was
revived, but irreperable brain damage occurred. He lingered in a coma for 2 weeks before cuccumbing to death on March 18th, 2001.
He was buried on March 22nd at Holy Cross Cemetary where he joined such old friends as George Pal, and Ray Bolger. perhaps fitting
was the fact that a few hundred yards from his grave is the final resting place of Bela Lugosi, the original Count Dracula.

Despite his illnesses, he never gave into them. He retained his enthusiasm for genre entertainment and continued enlightening
college-age students. He got them involved in his Academy and they became leaders. From Bryan Singer to Dustin Lance Black (who recently
completed a documentary on Dr. Reed's life), they all respected him very much.

Dr. Reed is gone in body, but he is eternal in spirit. What he started 30 years ago is still viable and strong. He created
something which has stood the test of time. Over the years, there were many good years and a few bad ones. He never strayed
from his goals and sacrificed much to keep them going. He is to be commended for his accomplishments. He led a full life. He
built upon his interests and became a pioneer. We should always be thankful and grateful for his contributions to the worlds
of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

He will always be remembered in this Academy. A special award has been instituted in this regard. It goes to an individual who,
in the tradition of Dr. Reed, has contributed to the quality of filmmaking and has proven an inspiration to younger filmmakers.

Dr. Donald A. Reed, rest in peace, and thank you for your inspiration and kindness.




© 2018 The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films.