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Archive for July, 2011

Living in Living Color: Catch Me If You Can Special Performance

July 28, 2011 Comments off

Nick Wyman, President of Actors’ Equity, and In the Spotlight member Carol Waaser. Photo by Jamie Lynn Liles.

The tireless team at Broadway’s Catch Me If You Can offered audiences an absolutely electric Special Performance for the Actors Fund on Sunday, July 24th! The packed house cheered the fabulous cast, crew and musicians of this incredibly fast-paced musical — all of whom had donated their time and talent for this extra show, the proceeds of which went to support The Fund’s programs and services.

Before the curtain went up, some of the evening’s stars, including Kerry Butler, Rachel de Benedet and Actors’ Equity Association President Nick Wyman, stopped by the pre-show reception at Gallagher’s to mingle with some of our generous In the Spotlight Members. And after the performance, Nick gave this incredible curtain speech:

Actors Fund Special Performances are truly wonderful experiences, so don’t miss these upcoming shows: The Lion King on August 7th, and for the The Book of Mormon on August 28th (amazingly, we have a few $500 seats still available, featuring the post-show cast party hosted by Brian Stokes Mitchell!).

Actors Fund President Joe Benincasa, Fund members Jeff Bernstein and Cathy Lanyard, and Nick Wyman. Photo by Jamie Lynn Liles.

Catch Me If You Can cast members Kerry Butler & Rachel de Benedet. Photo by Jamie Lynn Liles.

Cast members from Catch Me If You Can gathered for a photo before their Special Performance. Photo by Jay Brady Photography.

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The Actors Fund Helps: John Wilson

July 21, 2011 Comments off

John WilsonA long-time member of IATSE Local 1 and Vietnam veteran, John Wilson is one of the many wonderful residents who contributes the lively community at The Actors Fund’s Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. In this video, John shares a few anecdotes from his career (he worked for an amazing list of venues and performers including The Metropolitan Opera, the Harkness Ballet, and The Rolling Stones), tells us how he ended up at The Home, and how happy he his to be there.

For more information on The Lillian Booth Actors Home, visit our website.

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Five Questions For: Peter Gallagher

July 14, 2011 Comments off

Peter GallagherOn July 25, Peter Gallagher and Liz Callaway will head out to the Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, NJ, for The Actors Fund’s CelibriTee Golf and Tennis Outing. In advance of the event, Gallagher, the day’s Golf Chair, took some time out to share some tips, an anecdote about golfing with Jack Lemmon, and why everyone should come out and support The Fund.

AF:You’ve been supporting The Actors Fund for years. Why is the organization important to you?
Gallagher: I love The Actors Fund because it’s not just for actors but for all the pros—dancers, musicians, copyists—everybody without whom telling a story would be very difficult and very lonely! The only difference between those of us who are able to contribute to The Actors Fund and those of us who desperately need what The Fund provides is luck:  there is no difference.

I suspect that each and every one of us who has a job, this week, understands that we’re very, very lucky—and that it can change in a heart beat… Fortunately when the shoe is on the other foot chances are it’ll be a pretty nice one thanks to Conrad Cantzen and his Shoe Fund. In a time when so many traditional methods of social assistance are threatened, it’s essential that those of us that can, do something for our own.

You’re generously giving The Actors Fund your time—yet again—this time as the Golf Chair for July 25th’s CelebriTee Golf and Tennis Outing. Why do you think people should come out and support The Fund this way?
Golf outings can raise a lot of money for essential services and can provide opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds and professions who might never have had the chance to meet, find common ground and strengthen relationships in the community. Plus, it really makes you appreciate your day job—it becomes quickly apparent that there is no way any of us could ever make a living playing golf—instant common ground.

You’ve played a lot of golf and participated in numerous golf fundraisers throughout your career. Do you have any particular anecdotes that come to mind?
Jack Lemmon gave me my first set of golf clubs. We were doing Long Day’s Journey Into Night a few years ago and he spoke constantly about his love of golf and his ambition to someday make the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am…and in spite of the fact that I couldn’t hit the ball at all but was interested in the game, he would take me golfing all the time. To this day I’m astounded at his patience. A big crowd would gather on the first tee once they realized it was Lemmon and he’d hit a nice drive down the middle and I’d hit a big banana in the woods and he’d remark cheerily in front of the gallery “That’s a piece of sh**!”, the gallery would roar and we’d be off. There are a million more where that came from.

Can you share any golf tips you’ve learned along the way?
My favorite is: “take two weeks off and then quit.” A little more useful is to think about tempo—sort of a jazz waltz—it’s a good swing thought before you hit and hope. “Slow it down to a blur”—that’s a good one too.

Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?
I’m currently shooting the second season of Covert Affairs for USA and just finished Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, a movie with Marcia Gay Harden, Ellen Burstyn, Lucy Liu and Toby Regbo. I continue to work on and perform a one man show of songs and stories about my beginnings in the business and some of the remarkable guys I’ve worked with like Lemmon and Cagney, O’Toole etc. I better tell these stories soon while there are still people around who know who I’m talking about!

The Actors Fund’s CelebriTee Golf and Tennis Outing will be held on Monday, July 25 at the Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, New Jersey. Call 212.221.7300 ext. 133 or email tickets@actorsfund.org for more information.

Curtain Call: Lillian Gish

July 7, 2011 Comments off

Lillian Gish, 1979

Lillian Gish at the "Salute To Old Stars," 1979

As The Actors Fund has long been an integral part of the entertainment community, we’re lucky to have some special images in our archives that documented the moments some of the industry’s earliest stars came out to show their support. These photos from the 1970s feature the beautiful, dedicated, and generous actress Lillian Gish, whose link to The Fund was a strong one: She made numerous appearances to support our programs and services, and she and her sister Dorothy left more than $1 million to The Fund.

There is even a fascinating possibility, according to Charles Affron’s Lillian Gish: Her Legend, Her Life, that one of The Fund’s early Presidents, producer Daniel Frohman, was the first to sign Gish after she parted ways with D.W. Griffith, the man who had made her a legend. (Unfortunately, documentation makes it mysteriously uncertain if Frohman was connected to the production company that bore his name.)

From the Bread Basket Campaign, 1976.

From the Bread Basket Campaign, 1976.

Searching the web for additional tidbits, we also found the clip below, from The Fund’s 1985 Night of 100 Stars, in which Bernadette Peters introduces four of silent cinema’s biggest leading ladies.

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