René Balcer is an accomplished Emmy-winning director, writer and showrunner born in Montreal, QC on February 9, 1954. He attended Lower Canada College high school and Concordia University where he graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies. He married three times, in 1981 to Diane McCarter(divorced in 1988); in 1992 to Lynne Hayashi(divorced 1998); and in 1999 to Carolyn Hsu-Balcer.
Balcer began his career as a journalist covering the Yom Kippur War and worked as an editor for various Canadian publications including the Physicians Management Manuals in 1978. He was involved in several documentary films produced by the National Film Board of Canada and collaborated with notable film producers and directors include Monte Hellman, Francis Ford Coppola, Steve Tisch and Mace Neufeld in the 1980s.
Balcer has written for prominent television series including Star Trek: The Next Generation, but is best known for his work writing, directing, and showrunning the television series Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Los Angeles. He helped create the latter two.
In 2011, Balcer collaborated with the Chinese artist Xu Bing on an exhibition entitled Tobacco Project Virginia at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where his poem “Backbone” was featured.
Throughout his career, Balcer has been the recipient of several awards and certificates, including an Emmy (1997), a Peabody Award, a Writers Guild of America award, four Edgar Allan Poe Mystery Writers of America awards, and a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association.
In 2004, Balcer was awarded Alumnus of the Year by Concordia University and in 2008 he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) from Concordia, where he delivered the commencement address at the fall convocation.