CAROL MENDELSOHN REPORT
by Madison Moellers


I chose Carol Mendelsohn for one of my reports because I had the opportunity of working for her on one of her new TV pilots for CBS called Second Sight. Getting the opportunity to work with her definitely helped me see how amazing she is and how good she is at her job. She's so kind and likable. Her open heart shows to everyone and she makes everyone feel special. She's a great role model for anyone who wants to make it in Hollywood. I was super excited to learn more about what she does and a lot more of her background.

Miss Carol was born on January 3rd, 1951, just as her military father was heading back to Washington due to the Korea war. She experienced her first plane ride at the age of 2 weeks. Me, too. Her dad was an only child, her mom had one brother so it was a pretty small family and made sense that Miss Carol was their only child. She always secretly wished for a really big family with lots of sisters and brothers. She also grew up in Chicago. That's where my mom grew up. Miss Carol says it's a place of great storytellers. Her father was a successful, well connected lawyer with a lively personality. He took Miss Carol to meetings with cops, politicians and priests. Everyone had a story in Miss Carol's eyes.

When she was in third grade, her family got her a dog named Pepei.

She went to the Latin School of Chicago from kindergarten to twelfth grade. She was a really good student and had excellent grades. She also found a love for writing. Funny that she did so good because Miss Carol says she did all her schoolwork with the TV on in the background. I can sometimes do that but usually not. Her favorite subjects were English and History. She thinks that chemistry was her least favorite. That's too bad because she says, "It's too bad because it would have helped me a lot with CSI if I had paid more attention in class." She says her classmates would have described her as a T.V. nut.

Then, she went to Smith College (my great aunts went to Smith but she's not old enough to know them) but then later transferred in 1973 graduating from Cornell University. She made the transfer because she was too socially shy for all women's college. She loved TV so much her friends in college drew a picture of her with a TV set on her head. She studied lots of English Literature but her degree was in Political Science.

After graduating, she went to the George Washington University Law School. She says it was tough and very competitive. She must have liked Washington, D.C. because she decided to be an attorney at the D.C. office of top Los Angeles-based law firm Wyman, Bautzer, Rothman, & Kuchel. Miss Carol says she wasn't the best lawyer even though she practiced for years but credits for how she thinks.

She realized that she didn't want to be a lawyer so she then enrolled in an American Film Institute class. She was working as an attorney and writing short stories but they were getting rejected. She eventually quit her job and stayed in D.C. for another year to work on her writing.

She got to LA because she wrote a script that was passed on by her father's attorney friend in Los Angeles who played tennis with Grant Tinker, the former chairman and CEO of NBC. He got her script to his own MTM Studios, and one person there loved it saying "It's better than 90% of what I read." He suggested she write a spec script for them. The same attorney friend of her father's got her an interview at MGM. She says, "I was in and out of the MGM parking lot in 7.5 minutes. The security guards felt sorry for me." But, then a script of hers was passed along and she got a freelance job with Fame. Some of her early work includes Hardcastle and McCormick, Stingray and Wiseguy, all Stephen Cannell Productions. She also worked on The Trials of Rosie O'Neill and Melrose Place. "Stephen Cannell and Aaron Spelling gave me my start, taught me how to write, and produce and were truly my inspiration and guides. I am indebted to them to this day."

By 2000, Miss Carol wrote a pilot for CBS. It was liked but not picked up. During that time, CBS was going ahead with the pilot CSI: Crime Scene Investigation or as we call it CSI. The creator did not have TV writing experience. They turned to Miss Carol for what to do with CSI. She had a lot of work to do in what was really a short amount of time. CSI was a tough process with tons of science that nobody knew and with tough parts showing cut up flesh and organs blown apart by bullets. They called them "meat shots". They had five technical advisors and they had to figure how to make it so it wasn't seen too much and would appeal to a CBS audience.

From working on the CSI team, she was nominated for The Writer's Guild of America Award, The Producer's Guild of American Award twice, the Emmy Award three times and the Edgar Award. What's most incredible is the amount of episodes she's done for CSI and all its spinoffs. 275 for the original, 187 for the NY version and 232 for the Miami version. That rounds to 700 episodes!!!

Two years ago, CBS gave Miss Carol her own company and she started Carol Mendelsohn Productions. She made Julie Weitz president of her production company which is based at CBS TV Studios. In just a single year they sold six projects to CBS, CW and FX! Whoo hoo, you go, Miss Carol!! Most are based on books and some of them have really great female leads. She says running CSI doesn't give her a lot of free time. When she does, she loves to travel. She's been to Italy, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. It relaxes her. She also supports lot of charities but she tries to help the ones closest to her. "Everyone is struggling. Everyone needs help. I try to open my heart."

Miss Carol has had such an incredible career and it's still going strong! She has the new pilot SECOND SIGHT which sounds like it's going to be a hit! I hear there's an amazing little actress in it. WINK, WINK What I really think is that Miss Carol rules. She loves the business, she takes great care of everyone on set and around her, and she has such an awesome personality that when you walk up to her you can't talk to her without having a smile on your face. She is definitely my Influential Woman of Hollywood.



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