George C. Izenour, a true pioneer in the field of lighting and considered one of the fathers of modern stage lighting, is the winner of the 2004 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award.

One of the most important figures in the lighting industry, George C. Izenour wrote his Master’s thesis on what was to become his first invention: the electronic lighting control system for theatre. His first job was as lighting director for the Los Angeles Federal Theatre Project. When that was dissolved in 1939, he was made a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation with the mandate to establish a laboratory dedicated to the advancement of theatre technology. This was established at Yale University and became the home base for Izenour’s long career as inventor, consultant, acoustician, professor, and author (Theatre Design 1977, Theater Technology 1988, Roofed Theaters of Classical Antiquity 1992).

His most important invention was the inverse polarized rectifier circuit for dimming and switching. After working in a war research laboratory during WWII, he completed a lighting system that was patented by Century Lighting, ushering in the modern era of stage and television lighting. In the late 1950s he consulted on Harvard’s Loeb Drama Center, the first of over 100 performing arts venues in his prolific theatre consulting career. He has been a member of numerous professional organizations and received numerous awards during the 65 years of his ongoing career.

The prestigious "Wally" Award was established in 1992 in memory of Wally Russell, a true trailblazer whose career influenced several generations of lighting industry professionals. Each year, the "Wally" honors one individual who exhibits a strong sense of leadership, a commitment to technological innovation, and a career of service to the lighting industry. The winner is selected through a voting process open to the lighting industry at large. The other nominees this year were William Klages and Joel Rubin, both of whom have also made outstanding contributions to the industry.

Izenour received votes from a wide variety of industry professionals, from those who knew him in the various stages of his career to those who worked with his lighting systems back in the 1960s, as well as fellow theatre consultants and designers. The "Wally" is the perfect crown to Izenour's long and fruitful career.

"Wally" Award recipients 1992-2003:
2003: Sonny Sonnenfeld
2002: Jimmy Fuller
2001 Jim Bornhorst
2000 Stan Miller
1999 Don Stern
1998 Bran Ferren
1997 Fred Bentham
1996 Francis P. Deverna
1995 Tharon Musser
1994 George van Buren
1993 Charles Altman
1992 Wally Russell

The 1992 Newcomer Award Winner:

Robert Bell, the "father of WYSIWYG"

The Wally Award committee includes: Donna Appleton, Phil Bernard, Rusty Brustché, David Cunningham, Tom Folsom, John Howe, Larry Kellermann, Philip O'Donnell, Richard Pilbrow, Brian Russell, Glen Russell, Robert Schiller, Jennifer White, and John Wiseman.

The 2004 "Wally" will be presented as part of the LDI2004 Award ceremony at the Sands Convention Center on Saturday evening, October 23, 2004, at the 17th anniversary of North America’s largest entertainment technology show.