Baehr, Theodore 1946-

views updated

Baehr, Theodore 1946-

PERSONAL: Born May 31, 1946, in New York, NY; son of I.E. Theodore Baehr (an actor) and Evelyn Peirce (an actress); married Liliana Milani (an architect), February 18, 1975; children: Theodore, James, Robert, Evelyn. Education: Dartmouth College, B.A. (with high honors); New York University, J.D.; Institute of Theology at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, seminarian; Belhaven College, H.H.D.; also attended University of Munich, Cambridge University, University of Bordeaux, and University of Toulouse. Religion: Christian.

ADDRESSES: Home— Camarillo, CA. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: During early career, worked as an actor and attorney; City University of New York, former director of the Television Center; former president, Episcopal Radio-Television Foundation, beginning 1979; founder and chair, Christian Film and Television Commission, 1983—; editor and publisher, Movieguide, 1985—; founding chair, Good News Communications Ministry. Executive producer, “The Power,” exhibit, World’s Fair; executive producer and host of PBS series Perspectives: War and Peace. Founder of the Episcopal “Communicate” Workshops. Member of board of advisors for numerous organizations, including Religious Heritage of America, National Religious Broadcasters, Mastering Life, Mission America, National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, National Council of Churches Communications Board, National Broadcast Day of Prayer, Independent Christian Churches International, Campus Renewal Ministries, American Theater of Actors, and Theological Summit Conference.

MEMBER: United Seniors Association, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, National Religious Broadcasters, Council for National Policy, National Press Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Eagle Award, Western National Religious Broadcasters; Educational Policy Conference Award; TV 38 Hope Award; five Angel Awards for Excellence in Media; Chicago Intercom Silver Plaque; Wilbur Award; three awards from Southern California Motion Picture Council; President’s Award, ICVA/ICCM; Religious Heritage of America Faith and Freedom Award; Covenant Award, Radio Television Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Hollywood Anti-Pornography Coalition Award; Knights of Columbus Gold Plaque; Emmy Award nomination, for work on PBS series Perspectives: War and Peace.

WRITINGS

NONFICTION

Getting the Word Out: How to Communicate the Gospel in Today’s World, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Bruce W. Grimes and Lisa Ann Rice) Movie and Video Guide for Christian Families, T. Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1987.

The Christian Family Guide to Movies and Video, two volumes, Wolgemuth & Hyatt (Brentwood, TN), 1989.

The Media-Wise Family, Chariot Victor (Colorado Springs, CO), 1998.

(With Tom Snyder) Frodo and Harry: The Lord of the Rings versus Harry Potter, Crossway Press (Wheaton, IL), 2003.

(With Tom Snyder) What Can We Watch Tonight? A Family Guide to Movies: Movies Released since 1990, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 2003.

(Editor, with Susan Wales) Faith in God and Generals: An Anthology of Faith, Hope, and Love in the American Civil War, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2003.

So You Want to Be in Pictures? A Christian Resource for “Making It” in Hollywood, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2005.

(Editor, with son James Baehr) Narnia Beckons: C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and Beyond, illustrated by Angela West, Broad-man & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2005.

(With Pat Boone) The Culture-Wise Family, Regal Books (Ventura, CA), 2007.

(With Susan Wales and Ken Wales) The Amazing Grace of Freedom: The Inspiring Faith of William Wilberforce, the Slaves’ Champion, New Leaf Press (Green Forest, AR), 2007.

Also author of Hollywood’s Reel of Fortune: A Winning Strategy to Redeem the Entertainment Industry, Coral Ridge Ministries, and Television and Reality, ERTVF. Contributor to anthologies, including Religion and Prime Time Television, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1997;Advocacy Groups and the Entertainment Industry, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2000; and God Stories, Starburst Publishers (Lancaster, PA), 1999. Contributor to periodicals, including USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, and U.S. News and World Report. Author of nationally syndicated column.

SIDELIGHTS: Theodore Baehr’s writing, media work, and lecturing focus on the impact of the media on audiences, and on teaching audiences to use good judgment when selecting movies and other forms of entertainment. As the founder and chair of the Christian Film and Television Commission, Theodore Baehr is an international spokesman for Christian values in entertainment. The periodical he publishes, Movieguide, and some of his books provide lists of films and television programs that Baehr has screened for language, sexual themes, and violence, as well as for the overall world view they present.

Baehr is the son of I.E. Theodore Baehr, also known as Robert “Tex” Allen, a well-known star of western movies, who was an actor on stage and television as well. Baehr’s mother, Evelyn Peirce, was also a successful actor. As he grew up in New York, Baehr followed in his parents’ footsteps and worked on stage, in movies, and on television. He studied in England, Germany, and France, and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College before going on to earn a law degree from New York University. In 1975, Baehr began reading the Bible at a friend’s suggestion. His life changed dramatically as a result, and he decided to attend the seminary at the Institute of Theology at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He began to form the concepts that would eventually take shape as the Christian Film and Television Commission. The mission of this organization is to serve as a liaison between movie studio executives and audiences who are seeking wholesome family entertainment.

In What Can We Watch Tonight? A Family Guide to Movies: Movies Released since 1990, Baehr and collaborator Tom Snyder use the system found in the Movieguide to analyze and rate movies according to a Christian perspective. The first four chapters supply background information on how movies are perceived by children and adults, suggestions for viewing with discernment, and an explanation of the criteria used to rate the films. The bulk of the volume is given over to movie reviews, arranged alphabetically and by year; several lists summarize the worst, the best for children, and the best for adults. Reviewing What Can We Watch Tonight? for Practical Homeschooling, Mary Pride remarked: “I just wish the book was bigger and had even more movies in it!” In another review for Practical Homeschooling, Pride recommended The Media-Wise Family, a “very readable book” about learning how to choose good entertainment and how to teach children to do the same.

Baehr and his son James collaborated on the essay collection Narnia Beckons: C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and Beyond, which analyzes C.S. Lewis, his work, and his influence on modern culture. Lewis’s “Narnia” books are rich with Christian symbolism, and the Baehrs’ book offers “many fascinating glimpses” into the success of this series, according to William F. Jasper in the New American. Jasper added that Narnia Beckons also functions on another level as “a family album and picture book.”

In a work not related to the media, Faith in God and Generals: An Anthology of Faith, Hope, and Love in the American Civil War, Baehr and coeditor Susan Wales collected material that illustrates the importance of religion in the lives of those who fought the Civil War. Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, William Rose-crans, George McClellan and many others are featured. It is an “attractive, accessible” book well-suited for young adult readers, according to Roland Green in Booklist.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2003, Roland Green, review of Faith in God and Generals: An Anthology of Faith, Hope, and Love in the American Civil War, p. 810.

Practical Homeschooling, January-February, 2004, Mary Pride, review of The Media-wise Family and What Can We Watch Tonight? A Family Guide to Movies: Movies Released since 1990, p. 37.

New American, December 12, 2005, William F. Jasper, review of Narnia Beckons: C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and Beyond, p. 22.

ONLINE

Mediawise Family, http://mediawisefamily.com/ (December 23, 2006), biographical information on Theodore Baehr.