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Fr. Kieser


Paulist Father Ellwood (Bud) Kieser was the founder of Paulist Productions and the highly acclaimed television series Insight. Beginning in 1960 he worked in the entertainment community in Hollywood as a priest-producer, using television as a vehicle of spiritual enrichment.


Born in Philadelphia in 1929 and graduating from that city's La Salle University in 1950, he joined the Paulist Fathers the same year. The Paulists are an order of Catholic priests dedicated to ministry to those outside their church through the media.


In 1973, Kieser received a Ph.D. in the theology of communication from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. His dissertation was titled "Cinema as Religious Experience."


He was ordained to the priesthood in 1956 and assigned to the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in West Los Angeles. He also served as Chaplain of the UCLA Medical Center for the next two years.


In 1958, Father Kieser established an institute of adult education in theology intended for persons of all religions. He directed the institute until 1964. In


1960, Kieser created Insight a television series designed to exploit the humanizing potential of television and use it as a vehicle of spiritual education.


Father Kieser was the Executive Producer of Insight during its 23-year run. Featuring many of America's finest actors, directors, and writers, and airing on up to 200 stations each week, Insight won six Emmy Awards and soon became the experimental theater of Hollywood television.


In 1974, Father Kieser created The Humanitas Prize to encourage the communication of human values through entertainment writing. Endowed by the entertainment industry, it now gives cash awards each year to the writers of television programs and feature films that do the most to enrich their audiences.


In 1978, Father Kieser launched the Capital Cities Family Specials on the moral dilemmas of teenagers.


In 1984, he moved into prime time network programming as Executive Producer of the ABC special, The Fourth Wise Man. This was the first time that a Catholic priest and production company had collaborated with a commercial network to produce a prime time movie dealing with spiritual values.


After a trip to the famine-stricken areas of Africa in 1980 with actor John Amos, Kieser testified before the House Subcommittee on Africa. Returning to Africa in 1981 and 1984 at the invitation of Catholic Relief Services, he soon became a voice for the poor and hungry on American television.


In 1986, Kieser and his Paulist Pictures again collaborated with ABC as executive producer on a prime time movie of the week, We Are The Children, starring Ted Danson and Ally Sheedy, filmed on location in Kenya, Africa. It aired on ABC in March 1987.


In July of 1991, Kieser's autobiography, "Hollywood Priest," was released by Doubleday to very favorable reviews. Among the publications for which Kieser wrote are Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and America. Over the years, Father Kieser taught courses in philosophy at UCLA and in theology at Mount St. Mary's College. Kieser appeared on various television programs, including: 60 Minutes, The CBS Evening News, CBS Morning News, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Phil Donahue, Entertainment Tonight, Hour Magazine, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Mike Douglas Show.


In 1988, Kieser produced his first feature film, Romero. It focuses on the last four years of the life of the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador who went from a mouse to a tiger defending the human rights of his people. Written by John Sacret Young, it stars Raul Julia as Romero.


In 1995, Kieser produced his second feature, Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story, which was written by John Wells, and starred Martin Sheen and Moira Kelly.


In 1990, Father Kieser was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from La Salle University. In 1998, he was also awarded an honorary doctor in humane letters from the Catholic University of America.


Father Kieser passed away on September 16, 2000, in the midst of doing God's work as always.