Acclaimed Director Named Filmmaker-in-Residence for Fall 2011



Orange, CA (September 21, 2011) – Accomplished director and producer Betty Thomas (Dr. Dolittle, Private Parts, The Brady Bunch Movie, 28 days) will be mentoring students and screening her work as the O. L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence this fall at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

“We are thrilled to have one of the most commercially successful women directors in the world here to work with our students,” says Dean Bob Bassett. “Her incredible filmography, which includes acting, directing and producing, gives her a depth of experience that our students will find fascinating.”


“The students are more diverse, mature, sophisticated, and open to critique than I anticipated,” says Thomas.  “Their questions are on target and focused on the how and why of filmmaking.  I’m hoping that I can be a valuable source of examples from my experience in the business of filmmaking.”

Thomas’s impressive filmography includes directing Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, The Late Shift, John Tucker Must Die, I spy, and many TV shows and pilots as well as producing such hits as Can't Hardly Wait and both Charlie’s Angels films.

Like many, Thomas’s entry into the film business was indirect. Although she studied painting in college, a dare led her to attend improv workshops that eventually led her to Chicago’s The Second City improv on the main stage, where she performed with other (then unknown) actors such as Bill Murray and John Candy.

Having moved to Los Angeles to open a The Second City theater there, Thomas did a five-line audition for Hill Street Blues. “Five lines,” she says, “that changed my life.”  Her breakthrough role as a police officer named Lucy Bates earned her six Emmy nominations and one win for “Best Supporting Actress” in a drama.

When the show ended in 1987, Thomas returned to The Second City in Chicago where she directed the next show, starring Bonnie Hunt and Mike Meyers, eventually leading to her first TV directing job on Hooperman, starring the late John Ritter. After a few years of directing TV and winning an Emmy for a Dream On episode, she directed her first movie, Only You – an indie film starring Andrew McCarthy, Kelly Preston and Helen Hunt.  

Following her stint at Chapman, Thomas will go back to directing a film for Universal and will look to direct a television pilot as well.

For more information on Betty Thomas and all Dodge College faculty members please visit


About Chapman University:


Chapman University, founded in 1861, is one of the oldest, most prestigious private universities in California.  Chapman’s picturesque campus is located in the heart of Orange County – one of the nation’s most exciting centers of arts, business, science and technology – and draws outstanding students from across the United States and around the world.  Known for its blend of liberal arts and professional programs, Chapman University encompasses seven schools and colleges: Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Schmid College of Science, College of Performing Arts, School of Law and College of Educational Studies.   Named to the list of top universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, Chapman University enrolls more than 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students.


Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts:


One of the premier film schools in the country, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers students the unique opportunity to learn filmmaking in a hands-on environment modeled on a working studio.  The college is comprised of the Sodaro-Pankey Undergraduate School of Film and Media Arts, offering degrees in film production, film studies, screenwriting, creative producing, television and broadcast journalism, public relations and advertising, and digital arts; and the graduate Conservatory of Motion Pictures, offering M.F.A. degrees in film production, film and television producing, production design, and screenwriting, and an M.A. in film studies. Two joint M.F.A. degrees in producing are also offered in conjunction with the business (M.F.A./M.B.A.) and law (M.F.A./J.D.) schools. Dodge College is housed in Marion Knott Studios, a state-of-the-art, 76,000-square-foot studio and classroom building that provides students with 24-hour access to sound stages, edit bays, Dolby surround mixing, a motion capture stage and more.  With an Oscar and Emmy-award winning full-time faculty that boasts more feature film credits than any other film school, Dodge College is where students learn the entertainment business from the inside out.