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Happy Birthday to The Actors Fund!

June 8, 2011

The interior of Wallack's Theatre at 30th and Broadway. Not long after its 1882 opening, it was the venue for the first official meeting of The Actors Fund after its incorporation.

On June 8, 1882, after years of hard work and dedication by some of the American theatre’s most ardent supporters, the New York State Legislature passed special legislation to officially incorporate The Actors Fund. One-hundred years later, to celebrate its centennial, The Fund threw a birthday bash at Radio City Music Hall, Night of 100 Stars, which was telecast nationwide on CBS. Check out one of the fabulous numbers below:

And here’s a little bit on those first official days from A History of The Actors’ Fund of America by Louis M. Simon (published in 1972):

By June 8, 1882, the Act of Incorporation, drafted by Hon A. J. Dittenhoefer, had been passed into law by the New York State Legislature. On Saturday, July 15, the first meeting officially held under the charter took place at Wallack’s Theatre at 12 noon. Mr. William Henderson presided. Permanent officers were elected to serve during what remained of the year 1882–83.

P. T. Barnum

P. T. Barnum, one of The Actors Fund's first trustees.

President, Lester Wallack; Vice-President, A. M. Palmer; Secretary, Daniel Frohman; Treasurer; Theodore Moss…. Initial trustees were, according to the Act of Incorporation, the first seventeen incorporators named in the bill. They were:

Lester Wallack
Edwin Booth
Henry E. Abbey
Joseph Jefferson
M. H. Mallory
Lawrence Barrett
H. C. Miner
W. E. Sinn
A. M. Palmer
Edward Harrigan
William Henderson
John F. Poole
P. T. Barnum
W. T. Florence
Frank Chanfrau
Bartley Campbell
Samuel Colville
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