Jane Read Martin ’79

B.A., Denison University, 1979

Freelance Producer; Writer of television/movie scripts and children’s books
New York, NY

Citation awarded June, 2004

Jane’s first job out of Denison was as Jane Curtin’s secretary on the staff of “Saturday Night Live.” By 1980, she was the assistant to the producer, and by 1982, was the talent coordinator and later Associate Producer for WABC-TV’s “Good Morning, New York!”

In 1983, she began a long association with Woody Allen as his assistant on eight films, from “Broadway Danny Rose” to “Hannah and Her Sisters” to “Radio Days.” She was the associate producer for Allen’s film, “Alice.”

In 1991, she branched out on her own, and produced a 47-second film directed by the author, Tama Janowitz. Jane says, “The end credits were twice as long as the film!” She also wrote a short film, “Rosebud,” which was selected for The Edinburgh Film Festival. She added a “day job” to her freelancing, signing on to be a senior associate producer—and later, producer—on “The Joan Rivers Show,” and in 1993, during the Joan Rivers years, wrote a children’s book, “Now Everybody Really Hates Me.” In 1996, she published a sequel, “Now I Will Never Leave the Dinner Table.” The latter story, characterized as “an amusing revenge fantasy that captures sibling rivalry nicely,” was featured in The New York Times’ Magazine in July 2001.

Jane, who is married to screenwriter/director Douglas McGrath (“Emma” and “Bullets Over Broadway”), says her favorite project, by far, to date has been raising their six-year-old son, Henry. Jane has now added “cancer survivor” to her list of credits after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August 2002.

Jane loves being a stay-at-home mom. While spending as much time with Henry as she wants, she wrote the original screenplay for “Beautiful Girl,” produced by the ABC Family Channel as a made-for-TV movie. “Beautiful Girl” debuted in October 2003 and became the Family Channel’s highest-rated program of 2003. The reviews were outstanding and Jane’s screenplay was praised for its sensitivity and deft touch.

Jane credits recently retired Professor Elliot Stout with igniting in her a passion for film, introducing her to the classic films, and fortifying her with the knowledge and technical skills necessary to turn this love into a career.

We honor Jane Read Martin ’79 for mining her creative genius in ways that fire the imagination of an audience from small children to their doting grandparents, for having crafted a masterful blend of career and home, and for the perseverance it takes to live out one’s dreams in the face of daunting odds.