Statement on the Passing of DGA National Board Member and UPM Duncan Henderson

Duncan Henderson

June 23, 2022

LOS ANGELES – Directors Guild of America President Lesli Linka Glatter made the following statement upon learning of the passing of National Board member and Unit Production Manager Duncan Henderson:

“The Directors Guild of America mourns the passing of National Board member and UPM Duncan Henderson. A DGA member for over 40 years, Duncan’s level of passion, service and commitment was beyond exemplary – and for that we honored him with the Frank Capra Achievement Award in 2020 as a mark of his extraordinary dedication. No matter how massive the film, whether The Perfect Storm, Home Alone 2 or DGA and Academy Award-nominated features Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Dead Poet’s Society, Duncan was always available as a leader, a mentor and a friend.  He gave the same wise counsel and thoughtful consideration to award-winning directors and the production assistant on her first industry job. It is difficult to overstate how much Duncan meant to the DGA and his fellow members. His love for his Guild and its members shone brightly through his outstanding leadership and 16 years of service as a Board member, as a longstanding member of the Western AD/UPM Council (including a term as Council Chair), and five-time member of the DGA Negotiations Committee.  Additionally, Duncan was proud to give back to the organization that helped usher him into the industry and the Guild serving as a Trustee on the DGA-Producer Assistant Directors Training Program since 2004. Our thoughts are with Duncan’s wife Michele, his children Jessica, Ian, Fiona and Ivy, and his many colleagues and friends. He will be deeply missed.”

DGA Service and Awards

A DGA member for over 40 years, Duncan S. Henderson first joined the Guild in 1980 after graduating from the DGA-Producer Assistant Directors Training Program. He served ten terms on the Western AD/UPM Council since 2002, including being elected as Council Chair. He was also a sitting DGA National Board Member, having been first elected in 2005, and served eight consecutive terms. Henderson was awarded with the DGA’s 2020 Frank Capra Achievement Award, an honor that is given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Guild.

Henderson had a prolific career as a Unit Production Manager, Assistant Director or Producer of such hit features as Peter Weir’s DGA Award-nominated Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Dead Poets Society; Wolfgang Petersen’s The Perfect Storm and Outbreak; Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Home Alone 2; and Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion – as well as Malcolm D. Lee’s Space Jam: A New Legacy. Prior to becoming a UPM, Henderson worked as an Assistant Director on features ranging from John Cassavetes’ Big Trouble to Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky IV. As a DGA Trainee, Henderson worked on projects including Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo and Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate.

Henderson also served on the DGA Negotiations Committee for the 2005, 2008, 2014, 2017 and 2020 negotiations cycles, and as a delegate to the DGA Biennial Conventions. He had been a Trustee of the DGA-Producer Assistant Directors Training Program since 2004.

When asked about his choice to get so deeply involved in the operations of the Guild, Henderson said upon receiving the Capra Award, “I was like all of my compatriots in the DGA—busy. At some point I realized that other members who were just as busy as me were making time to contribute to the Guild with their service. I decided to follow their lead and join the AD/UPM Council. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It expanded the entire scope of my motion picture career.”

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