Susan Fales-Hill

Always Wear Joy



SUSAN FALES was born in Rome, Italy in 1962, and raised in New York City. She graduated from the Lycee Francais de New York in 1980 (Baccalaureat, Academie de Caen). In June of 1985, she graduated with honors from Harvard College with a degree in History and Literature (original class affiliation: 1984.) Her thesis, a comparative study of the poetry of Mallarme and that of Martinican dramatist Aime Cesaire, is in the Harvard archive.

She began her writing career as an apprentice on the original "Cosby Show" (starring Bill Cosby & Phylicia Rashad). After two years on staff, she was transferred to the show’s spin-off, "A Different World" (starring Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Sinbad) as a Story Editor. Three years later, in 1990, she became Co-Executive Producer/Head Writer. Under Susan's stewardship, "A Different World" was nominated for the prestigious Humanitas Award. The episode she wrote on AIDS, "If I Should Die Before I Wake," received the 1991 Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood, the 13th Annual Media Access Award from the California Governor's Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons, and the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award. In November 1995, Susan became Executive Producer of the CBS sitcom, "Can't Hurry Love" (starring Nancy McKeon & Mariska Hargitay). The following year, under contract with Warner Brother Studios, she served first as Executive Producer of the family-oriented situation comedy, "Kirk" (starring Kirk Cameron), then as a Consulting Producer on the television series "Suddenly Susan” (starring Brooke Shields, Nestor Carbonell, Kathy Griffin). In 1998 Susan co-created with Tim Reid the Showtime original series "Linc's” (starring Pam Grier) and served for two seasons as its Executive Producer/Head Writer. Susan is the recipient of the Producer’s Guild of America’s Nova award, a “Special Recognition Award” from the Friends of the Black Emmys, and the Excellence and Heritage Award from Dillard University.

Susan has written several magazine articles that have appeared in Town & Country, Vogue, Glamour, American Heritage, Ebony, Essence, Avenue, and Travel and Leisure. Her article for Vogue about growing up bi-racial, entitled “My Life in Black and White,” was reprinted in Vogue Español, and has been used as a teaching piece by a number of universities.

In 2003, Susan published Always Wear Joy (HarperCollins), a critically acclaimed memoir about her mother, the late actress/singer/dancer, Josephine Premice. The memoir was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction. It was an Atlanta Daily Choice Awards winner, and received a starred review from Kirkus. In 2008, Susan completed and sold her debut novel, One Flight Up, which is scheduled for publication by Atria/Simon & Schuster in 2010.

From 2003 to 2006, Susan served as an Elected Director of the Harvard Alumni Association, and from 2003-2010 as a member of Harvard’s Committee on University Resources. She served as a Vice Chair of both her Fifteenth and Twentieth reunions. She has spoken at the Kennedy School of Government on the topic of “Ethics in Television.” She was one of nine finalists for the role of Class Marshal for her twenty-fifth Harvard Reunion in June 2009.

Susan serves on the boards of the Studio Museum of Harlem, and American Ballet Theatre where she was recently elected Vice Chair. From 2004-2007, Susan Co-chaired the ABT Spring Gala, an event which draws twelve hundred of New York’s leaders in the fields of finance, business, media and philanthropy. In 2006, Susan helped the organization set a new fundraising record for the twenty-year old event.

In 2001, Susan was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame which means she is also an Olympic Gold medalist in International Shopping.  To the dismay of her many fans at boutiques and sample sales around the globe, Susan formally retired from the sport in 2007, just before the Great Recession.

Susan is fluent in French and Italian, and conversational in Spanish. She lives in New York with her husband and their daughter.