Paulette Joy Douglas
Time of Service:
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 3:30 p.m.
Place of Service:
Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew
263 West 86th Street, New York, NY 10024
The fiery force that was Paulette Joy Douglas came into this world March 18, 1950. Born to Helen and Harold Douglas in Philadelphia, PA, the petite, beautiful redhead spent her youth in the small town of Bridgeton, New Jersey with her parents and beloved younger brother, Robert Douglas. She graduated from Bridgeton High School in 1968, where she was a cheerleader, though she would later refuse to admit it. She had an endless passion for human rights and equality, and was involved in the major social movements of her time: she marched on Washington D.C., she burned her bras.
After graduating from Temple University, Paulette embarked on her illustrious television career. She started as a makeup artist on the Mike Douglas Show, but quickly shifted into producing and directing. Paulette was a pioneer in this male dominated field as one of the first female directors in news and sports. Beginning at KYW-TV in Philadelphia, then ABC Eyewitness News in New York, she eventually moved on to national programs with Entertainment Tonight, HBO Sports, CBS Sports, and more. She was in one of the first groups selected by the AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, for which she made her narrative directorial debut in the feature short The Couch, staring then-up-and-comer Julia Louis Dreyfus. Some of her greatest work was on the numerous featured specials which she produced and directed, including her tenure at Sports Illustrated Television, during which she was the executive producer on The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special and The Sports Illustrated for Kids Show. Her dynamic and compassionate work earned her five Emmys: as Producer on ABC’s Olympic Profiles, two as a Producer on HBO’s Play-by-Play: A History of Sport Television, as Director on HBO’s In This Corner: Boxing’s Legendary Heavyweights, and as Executive Producer on the feature documentary Vietnam, Long Time Coming. She left an everlasting impression on all the co-workers who bore witness to her intense passion and artistic vision, especially those she mentored and pushed to find their talents.
In 1987, Paulette married the love of her life, fellow television producer/director, Woody Freiman. Their union produced two daughters, Hannah and Halle Freiman, and one yellow lab, Yogurt. The couple raised their family on the Upper West Side of New York City. Her children were her pride, joy, and favorite source of anxiety. She adored her girls with a ferocious intensity, and she and Woody could not have been happier with the results of their two finest collaborations.
In recent years Paulette focused on independent artistic endeavors, producing and directing two brilliant documentary features, The Peglegs of Stuyvesant High and The TEAM Makes a Play. She also continued her lifelong devotion to humanity and care for others. She cooked dinner regularly for a local homeless shelter, helped organize a CSA to bring in food and produce directly from upstate farmers to Westside residents, and this past December she and Woody journeyed to Greece to lend a hand to refugees fleeing Syria. She is survived by countless friends and family, including her half-brother Arthur Douglas, and double-cousins Pamela Kaplow and Donald Douglass, who will miss her honesty, her fearlessness, her wisdom, her humor, her penchant for four-letter-words, her beauty, and her spirit. Losing her so soon and so suddenly was no one’s plan, but Paulette never stuck to anyone’s plan but her own.
Donations in Paulette's memory may be sent to:
The West Side Campaign Against Hunger, http://www.wscah.org/donate/
The DCRally4Refugees Fund (an event she was helping to organize), http://dcrally4refugees.org
Doctors Without Borders, https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org