Joe Shapiro Award

In memory of Joe Shapiro, this award recognizes individuals who display exemplary characteristics of humanitarianism, leadership, and vision.

About Joe Shapiro

Joe Shapiro started his professional career as a corporate attorney with the New York law firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine.  After seven successful years, he was promoted to partner in charge of corporate practice in a newly opened Los Angeles office.  By 1985, he had joined the Walt Disney Company as senior vice president-general counsel.  Before his retirement, he had been elevated to Executive Vice President, where he was in charge of its worldwide corporate business affairs.  Shapiro’s primary activities included broadcast and cable television, theatrical motion pictures, theme parks and consumer products. One of Shapiro’s main projects was to negotiate Disney’s contract to acquire MGM’s name, logo and certain other rights to its film library for use in the development and marketing of its Studio Theme Park in Orlando, Fla.   Additionally, he negotiated the contract with various French government entities, that eventually led to the development of Euro Disneyland outside Paris, France.  A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he was also a board member of the Motion Picture Association of America.  After engaging in a successful struggle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Shapiro began teaching at Cal State L.A. and became an executive committee member of the Billie Jean King fundraiser.  Shapiro succumbed to cancer in 1999 and is survived by his wife, tennis great Pam Shriver.


The Shapiro Award will be presented to those individuals whose work and service to the community promote a positive and lasting impact. Recipients must be grounded in the philosophy that one person can effectively and positively affect others’ perceptions and realities in the community in which one lives. Awards will be based upon an individual’s pursuit of a better life for all humankind. Due to the nature of this award, emphasis will be placed on those in Southern California, although residence is not mandatory for award recipient eligibility.


  • Shows Initiative, Innovation, and Creativity
  • Visionary leader
  • Significant personal and professional accomplishments
  • Positive impact on fellowship



Previous Recipients

George L. Pla

Dr. Frances Hellman

Tommie Smith &
John Carlos

Dr. Joan Johnson &
Cameron "Scotty" Deeds

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Mary Carillo

Rafer Johnson

Frank Deford

Anne Douglas

Maria Shriver

Patricia Cornwell

Chris Evert

Dr. Sally K. Ride

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Billie Jean King

John F. and Diane F. Cooke

Sidney and The Honorable Jane Harman