Chas Norton receives New England NATAS Gold Circle Award

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Chas Norton has been named 2019 Gold Circle Award Honoree by the Boston/New England Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The esteemed Gold Circle recognizes veteran professionals who for 50 years or more have made significant contributions to their professional community, the television industry, and to individuals training for careers in the TV field.

Across 54 years, Chas has mastered the challenges of lighting contrast and exposure for some of WGBH’s most iconic national and local programs, THE FRENCH CHEF with Julia Child among them.

Currently serving as Lighting Director for ANTIQUES ROADSHOW—PBS’s most-watched ongoing series—Chas was “instrumental in creating the look and feel for the series’ 1997 US debut,” says ROADSHOW Exec Producer Marsha Bemko. “He helped build a traveling production that transformed convention centers into television studios, making the backdrop for curious owners to learn about their treasures.” Marsha adds that with the series’ 2017 production move to historic venues and outdoor shooting opportunities, Chas’s “seasoned eye was key to that successful transition.”


“This Gold Circle Award acknowledges Chas as a master of his trade and pays tribute to the mighty role that lighting plays in our industry,” notes WGBH President Jon Abbott. “Thank you, Chas, for your many contributions.”

The 2019 Gold and Silver Circle Award ceremony will take place Tues, 11/19 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.


From Fred Barzyk


  1. Andrea Sodano on October 23, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    And then there was the time that the Auction crew put his motorcycle up for auction while he was running lights……a very surprised and nonplussed Chas. Andrea (Chas’ very proud wife).

  2. Tonia on October 23, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Mom and I are sitting here very proud of you and remembering all the wonderful creations that we had the pleasure of collaborating with you on during the years. We love you and you deserve all of this and more! Tonia and Cynthia!

  3. Annie Valva on October 23, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Well done Chas! You have always been a wonderful mentor and great friend. Your talents are far reaching, and I especially appreciate how you have helped many women navigate the business. I love you brother! ❤️

  4. Michael Lutch on October 22, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Congratulations and Thank you Chas for always making sure the lighting was what I needed to get the still photo to accompany the project I was documenting for WGBH.

  5. Gordon Mehlman on October 21, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Congratulations Chas,

    It was a privilege and a pleasure to have worked with a master of his craft and a friend for more than fifty years. Every production that you were a part of from the how to’s, NET operas, Advocates, The Boston Pops, and so many remotes showed your skill and professionalism.

    Also a thank you from myself, and from many crew members, for sending copies of your beautiful photographs of us and our production sites.

    Well done and well deserved.

  6. Austin Hoyt on October 19, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Chas, It was an honor to work with a real pro for many years. You deserve the best.

  7. Syrl Silberman on October 18, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Chas,
    So well deserved. I send congratulations echoing down the years.
    Warmly (many foot candles worth)

  8. Philip Gay on October 18, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Here’s to being bold!

  9. Sixto Escobar on October 18, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Chas a well deserve honor. You contribute a lot to the success of WGBH. I appreciate specially the work and contribution you made to LA Plaza.

  10. Susan Peters on October 18, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Congratulations Chas! You have been a mentor and a leader to so many. So happy that this honor is coming your way!!!


  11. Roger Lyons on October 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Hub-i, Chub-az.

    I spent my formative years in television working on such WGBH programs as The Ten O’Clock News, The Advocates, various how-tos, and Elliot Norton Reviews. Yet my one year on ZOOM gave me a front-row seat to learning all about lighting from you.

    From creating an “Octopus’s Garden” to many other striped-shirted-kids-in motion show opens, you had a unique way of solving problems with calm and thoughtfulness.

    You’re a master at what you do and very much deserve to be inducted into the prestigious Gold Circle.

  12. Allan Muir on October 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Congratulations, Chas, you are the BEST. I have awesome memories of our collaborations on The Advocates, Infinity Factory, and The Cars breakout video. Just being around you was a treat!!!

  13. Derek Hunt on October 18, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Congratulations, Chas, a wonderful honor to a most deserving designer.

    From an old friend and admirer.

    Derek Hunt

  14. Hope Green on October 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Your insistence on getting it right when we overlapped at WGBH set my standard for lighting directors ever after. So glad to see your work recognized with this award. Congratulations.

  15. Raquel Ortiz on October 18, 2019 at 8:28 am

    What marvelous well deserved honor. I was thrilled when you received an Emmy for Lighting the first “La Plaza” set. It was always a delight working with you. I respect and admire your talent and skills and your big heart. Felicidades Amigo!

  16. Mark Helman on October 18, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Congrats, Chas! I learned a lot from you, and had a lot of laughs along the way. Keep it up!

  17. Fred Lindauer on October 18, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Way to go Chas. Lots of memories of working with you in New Haven so many years ago. Congratulations.

  18. Marc Tucker on October 17, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Delighted to see that you are getting this award, a fitting capstone to an impressive career. From your long-time friend and admirer…

    — Marc Tucker

  19. Dick Heller on October 17, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Chas, a well deserved honor for a consummate craftsman, teacher, and colleague. From crew days to directing, it was always great to know you were on the team, giving your all. Keep the beautiful photos coming, too!!

  20. Bill Charette on October 17, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Chas, There’s an army of people who learned lightning at your knee. As I mentioned to you at the last reunion, you were a major influence in my career for which I am forever grateful. Congratulations

  21. Don Hallock on October 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Congratulations, Chas. 50 years! Wow! Still see you in the background of ‘Roadshow’ from time to time. You just never stop. Anyway, no one deserves the award more than you. Proud to know you. Don

  22. Bob Manosky on October 17, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Congratulations. Well Done Chas.

  23. Richard McGonagle on October 16, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Congratulations Chas! As many have already said it is well deserved.

    When I first went to WGBH in 1968 on their apprentice program I was fortunate enough to be snapped up by Chas for the lighting department. He spent a lot of time teaching me all I could absorb. You are a good man sir, and who knows, if I hadn’t jumped ship for the other side of the camera…

  24. Larry LeCain on October 16, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Always an inspiration to work with you Chas! Your patience, kindness, and intelligence set a very high standard for us to follow.

    You are worthy of the Golden Circle award and my undying gratitude.

  25. Charles Kelley on October 16, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    I was a fresh-out-of-high-school summer replacement studio technician during my initial college years in the early 1970s. I hung a lot of lights for Chas during those summers, and I was scared to death of him because he was so professional and so exacting, and I didn’t want to screw up. Yet I also knew I was learning from a master — who was also a wonderful guy when I wasn’t feeling terrorized on the lift!

    His hair was a LOT longer then, but I have no doubt that this honor is more than well-deserved. Congratulations, Chas

    Happy to see praise from Greg Fitzgerald, Dave DeBarger, and Lee Smith on this thread. Though I’ve had a lot of wonderful jobs in my life, and though I am sure none of these guys have any recollection of me, you all are still a big part of the best job I ever had. And I am grateful to you all for your graciousness, your guidance, and acceptance of a snotty-nosed kid on your crew (even though Frank Lane (RIP) never let me forget that I was a “three toilet Irish”).

    PS: I still have the adjustable wrench I bought and kept in my back pocket to hang Chas’s lights!

  26. Susan on October 16, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Chas – I can only echo Boyd Estus…”Richly deserved.” You are one of the incredibly talented… and KIND…people WGBH has been lucky enough to have over the years. Whenever John and I would see an especially beautiful sky, we would say, “Oh, look, its a Chas Affect.” (Still motorcycling?)

  27. Geoffrey Miller on October 16, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Chas Norton was always a beacon of mentorship for me both before I joined WGBH and throughout my 12 years. Congratulations to a great man.

  28. Carol Jeffery-WGBH Scholar 1968 on October 16, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Much deserved. Thanks for being a mentor and teacher. Sometimes I hear your voice as I look at errant boom mic shadows or talking heads whose shoulders cannot be distinguished from the set. Such things would never have appeared on one of your shows. Great memories. An award no less than you have earned. Congratulations.

  29. Jack Caldwell on October 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm


    Congratulations for receiving recognition for your five decades+ of lighting skills, quality judgment, team building, and caring for your team, staff, directors, producers, actors and on and on. We met and worked together back in the late ’60s when WGBH was growing and building its stature. You are surely proud to have been an integral part of the pioneering days of television.

  30. Lee Smith on October 16, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Chas!

    When I started working at WGBH in 1971, you were the first lighting director that I was assigned to work as gaffer for. I recall it was on the Julia Child French Chef cooking show. You were always the consummate professional at your craft. A BIG CONGRATS to you! None more deserving.

    Lee Smith

    • Tom Malkin on October 17, 2019 at 10:54 am

      Congratulations Chas on this great honor and achievement. Enjoyed working with you for 8 years and learning so much at GBH from you on these for mentioned shows. It’s been a long time, glad to see you are well and have achieved so much.

      Hi Lee, been looking for you. Reminisce about WGBH days. Contact me…

  31. Benny Krol on October 16, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Chas, congratulations on your well-deserved award. I can’t believe 54 years have gone by us. It’s been a pleasure working with you on many of those productions. A Lot of good memories were shared on that pathway. Here’s to you and all the wonderful people that we had the opportunity to get to know and work with during those decades.

    Benny Krol

  32. Michael Esty on October 16, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Congratulations, Chas. I remember your work on projects at 125 and 419, always pushing for perfection. I also remember you working with others your Junior and bringing them along, one being my brother Charles Esty. Again, congratulations. Nicely done.

  33. Carl Piermarini on October 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Chas…you are simply…the best. Congrats and thank you for you many years of hard work, dedication and commitment to quality television production.

  34. Boyd Estus on October 16, 2019 at 4:41 pm


    Congratulations! Richly deserved.

  35. Margo Garrison on October 16, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Congratulations Chas!

    Well deserved! So creative, kind, dedicated, and willing to share your knowledge with others, all while chewing on a piece of electrical tape, as I recall.

  36. Monia Joblin on October 16, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Chas, it was always a relief knowing you were with us in the studio because you always brought artistic creativity and ingenious problem-solving to every production day. Congratulations on this award. You so richly deserve this and more!

  37. Chas Norton on October 16, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    As much as this is a great honor for me, I have to mention that an individual achievement is always part of a team achievement.

    Hats off to all the women and men who worked with me over the years to achieve success, and whose names do not appear on this very important award.

    Thanks to all of you.

  38. Bob Nesson on October 16, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    CHAS!!! You’ve always been a master to look to for ideas about lighting. For as long as we’ve known each other – especially in the “early days” — you’ve shown a seriousness of purpose and deep understanding of what’s needed to deal with all the challenges of giving a subject the kind of visual presence needed.

    Congratulations on this Gold Circle Award. You richly deserve it. And it was great to see you at Michael Ambrosino’s gathering two weeks ago.

    Bob Nesson

  39. Dave DeBarger on October 16, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Congratulations, Chas! Well-deserved.

    Thanks for the memories, and for teaching me how important lighting is to a production; AND how to do it!

  40. Steve Damas on October 16, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Chas, congratulations! You deserve it. You have been an inspiration to me and always a pleasure to work with. Will we every get to do that again? I would look forward to it.

  41. Susan Bluttman on October 16, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Congratulations, Chas! It was great to work with you on the Ten O’Clock News way back when!

  42. Greg Fitzgerald on October 16, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Go Chas!

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