Steve Binder's work as an Emmy and ACE award winning director, producer and writer, Golden Globes nominee and recipient of the 2008 Caucus award for directing, Steve's list of accomplishments goes on and on. Born and raised in Los Angeles and after attending the University of Southern California as a pre-med student, Steve served in the US Army as an announcer for the American Forces Network (AFN) in Austria & Germany and was inducted into the "Legends of AFN" at a military honor guard ceremony in 2007.
Starting his professional entertainment career at KABC at the age of 22 and in order to get his first job in the industry, he had to promise the mailroom department-head he would never seek a higher position in show business if he were offered the job. Less than a month later, Steve became a director for KABC directing the popular pie throwing "Soupy Sales Show" airing five days a week on the local KABC station and primetime on the ABC Network on Monday nights.
As television's youngest network director, Steve decided to go free-lance and spent the next two years directing for Steve Allen. His first job was to direct twenty-six half hours of "Jazz Scene, U.S.A.", hosted by Oscar Brown Jr. and distributed worldwide by Desilu Studios. Allen financed the production and served as the series executive producer. The series featured half hour mini-specials with twenty-six jazz giants including Stan Kenton, Shorty Rogers, Nancy Wilson, Cannonball Adderley, The Jazz Messengers and Lou Rawls. Before the series was completed, Binder doubled his duties by directing the wildly popular late night syndicated show for Westinghouse Broadcasting,
"The Steve Allen Show" across the street from the Hollywood landmark 'The Hollywood Ranch Market' on La Mirada and Vine Street. It aired for ninety minutes five nights a week for over two years.
While directing the Allen show, Steve directed his first feature film, "The T.A.M.I. Show" (Teen-Age Awards Music International) hosted by Jan and Dean and starring James Brown and the Flames, The Rolling Stones, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Lesley Gore, Chuck Berry and Gerry and the Pacemakers. "Arguably the greatest of all Rock films"... LA Times Magazine March 2010.
The list of Steve's accomplishments as executive producer/producer/director/writer include, "Hullabaloo," "The Danny Kaye Show," "The Big Show," "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert," "Smokey Robinson's Motown Review," four "Prime Time Emmy Awards," "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," Hallmark's "Zoobilee Zoo," multiple "The Soul Train Music Awards," "The Desi Awards," "Gilligan's Island," "It's About Time," "Shields & Yarnell," "The Mac Davis Show," series and specials, "The Norman Corwin Theater," "Divas 2000," "Super Bowl XXX" with Diana Ross and James Whitmore's brilliant Academy Award nominated performance in the feature-film, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" Other primetime one-hour specials included Disney's ice-skating specials starring Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi and a host of Olympic gold medalists. The list of stars and shows continues; Burt Lancaster's "Some People", primetime specials with Leslie Uggams, Edie Adams, "The 65th Anniversary of The Grand Ol' Opry," "The International Special Olympics," two "Barry Manilow" Specials, Fred Ebb's, "Liza," multiple "Lola Falona" Specials, John Denver's "Montana Christmas Skies," "Olivia Newton-John Special," with ABBA and Andy Gibb, "Patti LaBelle Special," with Cyndi Lauper, "Lucy In London" starring Lucille Ball and Anthony Newley, "A Tribute to Sam Kinison," "The Star Wars Holiday Special" with the original film cast and multiple Diana Ross specials including his award winning "Diana Ross in Central Park."
One of Steve's most important achievements was when in 1968 he produced and directed the "Petula" special with English songstress Petula Clark and her guest star Harry Belafonte. Steve is credited with breaking the 'color barrier' in primetime variety television when the two performers physically touched each other while singing "On The Path of Glory," an anti-war song written by Petula, "On The Path of Glory". The sponsor's representative immediately insisted the song be removed from the special but Steve flatly refused and quickly erased all the previous master takes where they hadn't touched! The Special aired with the 'touch' included and swept the night in the national ratings.
Steve has been guest speaker on four separate occasions at the prestigious William S. Paley Center in both Los Angeles, and New York City, where special evenings were devoted to his work in the entertainment industry. Twice he has spoken at the "Don't Knock The Rock" film festivals at the Arc Light Theater in Hollywood where two of his films were shown (T.A.M.I. and ELVIS). On two separate occasions Steve was keynote speaker to a standing room only audience at the Hall Of Fame Museum of Rock 'n Roll in Cleveland, Ohio. His subject was his highly acclaimed "Elvis" NBC television special now referred to as "The Comeback Special." Steve conceived, directed and produced the special and the one-time Special will go down in television history if for nothing else for his contribution to what TV Guide called "the second greatest musical moment in television history next to the Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan." Steve's book on the making of the special, "68@40 a retrospective," sold out the first edition of 2000 copies in the first week of the books release.
Steve is currently an active member of the Directors Guild of America and served on the Board of Directors of the Producers Guild of America and the Steering Committee of the Caucus of Television Producers/Directors/and Writers dedicated to protecting creative and artistic rights for all members of the creative community. He is also a member of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters and served on their Board of Directors. In 2012, Steve was honored by the organization with their prestigious Diamond Circle Award.
Steve served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences representing the directors peer group. Steve is one of the first subjects of the Academy of Television's Archive of American Television's 500 Interviewees preserving the rich history of television by videotaping the oral history of legends and pioneers of the medium.
Director Taylor Hackford ("An Officer and a Gentleman," "Ray") interviewed Steve in 2007 for the Guild's Visual History program; A Special Project of the Director's Guild of America. Steve is an adjunct professor at Columbia College and the University of Southern California where for over 20 years he has taught a much sought after course in directing in the cinema/TV department. On July 2nd of 2006, Steve received an honorary degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters from Columbia College - Hollywood and delivered the keynote address at the 2006 graduation ceremony.
As President/CEO of his own TA record label in the 1970's, Steve is credited with discovering and guiding the careers of many music artists including Seals & Crofts and Rick Springfield. He is currently managing the career of Italian singing star, NIKO (www.iamniko.com), who made his American singing debut at Carnegie Hall in 2008 with the New York Pops Orchestra and completed a 19-city national tour with Chicago and the Doobie Bros. Niko has performed with Celine Dion, Jewel and Tony Bennett and 14-yr. old protege, Maya Burns, who is currently in the studio with songwriter, Franne Golde and record producer, Paul Fox.
For the past two years, Steve has been collaborating with Professor Mary Beth Leidman from Indiana University of Pennsylvania on writing the encyclopedia of the history of variety television with contributions by many major living American producer and directors in the field of variety living today.
"Whatever you do in life, do it with passion!"