Actor's Stories


Actor's Stories are a SAG Awards® Tradition


When the first Screen Actors Guild Awards® were presented on March 8, 1995, the ceremony opened with a speech by Angela Lansbury introducing the concept behind the SAG Awards® and the Actor® statuette, along with giving a little of her own history as a performer: "I've been Elizabeth Taylor's sister, Spencer Tracy's mistress, Elvis' mother and a singing teapot." She ended by telling the assembled audience of SAG Awards® nominees and presenters, "Tonight is dedicated to the art and craft of acting by the people who should know about it: actors. And remember, you're one too!"

Thus began a tradition of the Screen Actors Guild Awards® opening with a distinguished actor telling the audience a bit about his/her perceptions of their craft or some brief biographical anecdote. For the SAG Awards®, the first eight years of that tradition was carried on by a single actor each year, with Michael Keaton, Dennis Hopper, John Lithgow, Kathy Bates, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods and Sir Ian McKellen following chronologically in Lansbury's footsteps.

The concept was so well received that for the 9th Annual SAG Awards®, supervising producer Gloria Fujita O'Brien suggested a new twist on the tradition. By having actors tell shorter stories, it would allow room for actors of all ages and backgrounds to tell tales with many different emotional tones. To make it even more fun for the audience, the producers decided to keep the identities of those storytellers secret until they popped up on camera.

Since the 9th SAG Awards® on March 9, 2003, 80 actors have told their stories, typically closing with their name and the signature line, "I'm an actor."  


The Actor's Story - Complete Transcript

1st Annual SAG Awards 3/08/95 – Angela Lansbury

Hello, my name is Angela Lansbury. We are here this evening to honor our fellow performers in film and TV with an award simply called the Actor. I know a little bit about the subject. I’ve been Elizabeth Taylor’s sister, Spencer Tracy’s mistress, Elvis’s mother and a singing teapot. Let’s face it, at one time or another everyone loves the opportunity to act. No matter what we do, I guess we’re all actors at heart. I mean just watch a child play “let’s pretend”. I mean actors are simply those people who have turned this impulse into a life’s work. So tonight is dedicated to the art and craft of acting by the people who should know about it: actors. And remember, you’re one too!


2nd Annual SAG Awards 2/26/96 – Michael Keaton

My name is Michael Keaton, and I’m an actor. Thank you. I’m honored and I’m proud to have been asked to open tonight’s ceremony. Being an actor is the work we’ve chosen. I feel what I do for a living makes me no better, no worse, no more important, no less important than millions of other hard working men and women. It’s a craft that carries with it, I think, a responsibility of making people think; maybe making people feel something. And I think hopefully, altering the course of things for the better. A responsibility not to be taken lightly. It’s a responsibility I think should be shouldered with pride, humility and gratitude. Tonight’s celebration is a celebration of actors saluting actors. Through the Guild you’re publicly recognizing and honoring your colleagues for their work. And I call on you to say with pride, “I’m an actor.” But more importantly it’s a chance for all of us in a communal way to be generous and to be bigger. And for what it’s worth, as for me, in the few short years I’ve had the gig; it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.


3rd Annual SAG Awards 2/24/97 – Dennis Hopper

Hi, my name is Dennis and uh… I’m an actor. No wait, wait. No, you know that didn’t really work for me. Can I try that again? Yeah, my name is Dennis Hopper and I’m an actor. See I’m an actor because I act. Or maybe, maybe I act because I’m an actor? I mean either way the point is I am an actor, or am I? I mean how do you know? I mean how can you tell? You see there’s no real way to really prove it, is there? But aren’t you watching me act right now? Well maybe, maybe not. Maybe this is just me being me, you know? I mean maybe this is just the way I am normally. I mean maybe all this time you thought you were watching me act, I was just pretending to act. I mean there’s no way you can know for sure. The only way you could know that I’m really an actor is because I told you I was. And that it just so happens that I am physically unable to lie. My name IS Dennis Hopper, and I AM an actor.


4th Annual SAG Awards 3/08/98 – John Lithgow 

I am an actor. I play parts. I act for living, I act for fun, I act for myself, but mostly I act for an audience. There are moments when an audience gasps with horror, explodes with laughter, falls breathlessly silent, weeps or jumps to its feet cheering. I live for those moments. I love to hear those sounds from up on a stage or imagine them from in front of a camera. A chemical reaction can take place between an actor and an audience where on both sides of the footlights, emotions are heightened, and memories are stirred, and life is momentarily lived a little more vividly. We actors love to be a part of that chemistry. Writers of course write those splendid moments, and a whole army of other artists direct them, design them, amplify, light them, but the actor is the final catalytic element, the lightening rod, the lit fuse. So buy a ticket, take your seat, close out your every day world, open your mind your eyes, your imagination and watch me act. You might be lucky, on a good night I just might catch fire. I am an actor!


5th Annual SAG Awards 3/07/99 – Kathy Bates

I am an actor, a professional chameleon whose colors refuse to settle. One who watches and listens, who consumes words on a page underneath a strange name that is mine for a time but not really me. When asked, “why are you an actor” I can give no single definition, no reason why I am endlessly fascinated with the mystery of becoming someone else. The essences, and abstracts, the nuances of behavior, the seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling, the thrill of becoming someone who is almost unrecognizable as the person I once was. I’m an actor, a paradox of ego and insecurity, a medium who sacrifices part of my own existence to serve a character. Thrusting the compass points of wonder and imagination to find a seed of truth in the endless search for a mask that will reveal my true identity. I’m an actor like most of you here tonight, here to celebrate the alchemy of working from the inside out. The art of working from the outside in and sometimes the miraculous transformation on a level that reflects the briefest moment, the gift of what it means to be human. 


6th Annual SAG Award 3/12/00 – Whoopi Goldberg 

I’m an actor. I strut and fret my hour upon the stage and I’ve done a lot of strutting because I AM an actor, and because of that I do a lot more fretting. Am I the right age to play a mother? Okay, I don’t sweat that one so much. Am I the right sex to play a Roman slave? Am I the right color to play a maid? Haha. Is anybody going to believe that I could pass for a nun? Am I going to eat next week? Ha. Because I’m an actor, I’ve been a valley girl, I’ve been a Cheshire cat, I’ve been a nark, I’ve been a fortune teller, I’ve been a grand banshee queen of the leprechauns. But before all of that I was a tea pot and a bank teller, I was a brick layer, I was a funeral home technician. I was a welfare mother. And because of all of that I can be an actor. Cause we’re observers, collectors of bits and pieces of nuance and speech and attitude and all the tiny little morsels of trivia that add up to the truth, if we do it right. So tonight, we honor some of the people who do it right. I see them now, they’re observing me, I’m observing them. We’re observing each other. The joint is an observatory tonight. But we’re not just looking at stars, we’re looking at the people who get restless in their own skins and have to step into somebody else’s. And a lot of people think it’s easy. They leave what they do thinking, “Ooo I’ma gonna be an actor. I was an athlete, I was a super model.” But you never hear actors leaving to become basketball players or supermodels. On occasion one or two leave to become politicians, but that’s the same as being an actor. And being an actor is as much fun as it sounds, but it’s a lot more work than the folks at home watching can imagine. Believe me honey these folks have earned the right to say, “I am an actor” because they are actors.


7th Annual SAG Awards 3/13/01 – James Woods 

Thank you. I am an actor. This is what I do for a living: I create the lives of other people. And I also sign John Malcovich’s autograph more than I’d like and I thank people who loved my performance in Robocop, which of course I never did. But what I do is I create the lives of other people. And here’s who I do it for: I do it for the fat lady in the fourth row, that mythical creation of JD Salinger. A woman he imagined who came into a theater, looked up on a screen or a stage and was touched by and actress or an actor, and who saw something that she had never seen before. For one infinitesimal moment, believes that she shares a world with someone else who feels just that thing that she felt. So I went to New York a young actor and I got my first job and I got my SAG card. And there it was, my golden entre to a world of television and cinema. It was a Campbell home-style pork and beans commercial but it was my first shot. I’m doing this commercial and it’s set up where all the actors are playing people in a rooming house, and we’re eating this delicious soup. We’re all lonely, sad people that live in this boarding house, we never talk to each other and as we take a sip we’re reminded of our hometowns. Each one of the wonderful actors takes a sip and does that actor thing, brings alive the image of Walla Walla, Washington or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And in a, I guess, a pattern that I guess was going to become something for the rest of my life, and I said to the Director “I know this is my first job but how about if I do a thing where I say ‘Colon West, Virginia!” like a real dork and now everybody that’s now so happy to be eating together all of a sudden stops eating and they become in fact very sad again, and he said “great.” So we do the commercial that way and I think it’s very great and the third day it’s on the air the Governor of West Virginia calls the president of Campbell’s Soup corporation and says, “If that guy isn’t off the air tomorrow, the state of West Virginia is going to boycott Campbell’s products.” So two seconds on screen and there I am starting the next civil war. But then twenty-five years later I finally found my fat lady in the fourth row. I was standing in a super market and a guy came up to me and said, “Mr. Woods I want to thank for something.” And I said, “What is that?” He said “Seven years ago tonight,” a true story, “you saved my life. I was sitting on a couch in my house that was about to be foreclosed on. I’d lost my wife, I’d lost my children, I’d lost my job. I was a hopeless alcoholic. And I was sitting there with a gun on the coffee table in front of me. Oddly enough the TV was on and there you were standing in front of a window, talking about what it was like to want another drink on a program called, ‘My Name is Bill W.’ I thought there was such a supernatural irony to this. I kind of listened to what you had to say and something kind of touched me. Oddly enough I don’t know why for further sense of irony I went to a meeting that night and now seven years later now tonight I’m going to get my cake; seven years of sobriety. I don’t know what it was but something you said just touched me.” Now I’m not vain enough, even though I’m an actor, to think that I had much to do with that. I think there was a higher power involved. But still for that moment I realized that still after all these years as an actor I had finally found my fat lady in the fourth row. Little guy he was an accountant but he was my fat lady in the fourth row. From that moment on I never had any ambivalence about being an actor. I can tell you tonight, like all of you, I am proud to be an actor. I am proud to be amongst all of you and I am proud to welcome you to the 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. 


8th Annual SAG Awards 3/10/02 – Sir Ian McKellen 

Good Evening. I’m a professional actor and I have been for forty years now. I wasn’t fit for anything else frankly. And I’ve generously been given a just moment or two to talk about acting. Well, William Shakespeare of course put it well: “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.” And if you’re not a member of the Screen Actors Guild and you don’t think of yourself as a player or as an actor, well didn’t you choose what costume or clothes you were going to wear this evening? Whether you’re here or at home. And tomorrow morning your costume will be something different depending on what scenes you take part in. You’re whole demeanor will adapt. You know, think of the word, “Good morning”. The first thing you say “good morning” is to the person you wake up next to. Little bit later in the day you’ll pick up the phone, “good morning”, agent of course, and if you’re lucky you might actually meet a casting director, “good morning”. And this human ability to fit into a variety of situations at home or work or play, that’s the basis of professional acting. Only doing what comes naturally to everyone. Actors interpret other people’s dreams and I doubt I shall ever tire at the fascinating pleasure of adapting to a characters life. It feels to me a little bit like being a craftsman you know, learning throughout a career how to act better like a carpenter aspires one day to make a perfect chair. And screen actors join together in a craft guild. On occasions like this, discover a common cause from our individual experience in acting. And tonight the Screen Actors Guild looks inward on it’s craft to honor, for lack of a better word, we call “the best”, are just good examples of work that ends to entrance the eye, to delight the ear, and to stimulate the mind and to glory in the certainty that men and women, all of us merely players, have each of us a unique story worth telling. We actors can’t do it alone of course, which is why tonight we also celebrate the achievement of ensembles, directors, other colleagues we work with, which should make for an evening of emotion and fun. And now my four favorite words: “On with the show.” 


9th Annual SAG Awards 3/09/03

I was once a singing waitress at the Catskills and now look at me. I’m Kathy Bates. I’m an actor.

My mother gave me a set of business cards when I graduated from drama school and it said, “Alfred Molina, Actor”, but the word “actor” was in quotation marks. My names Alfred Molina and I’m an actor.

A school bus driver, a construction worker, a coach, a bread salesman. Now I’m an actor—a good one. I’m Bernie Mac.

I came to LA, I didn’t know anyone, I waited a lot of tables and eventually I taught yoga. Now I have Sex & the City. My name is Kristin Davis and I’m an actor. 

When I was 16 years old I saw my first Broadway musical and it changed my life, it was called Hair. My name is Keith Williams and I’m an actor.

I’m still looking for a movie to do this summer. My name is David Hyde Pierce and I’m an actor.

When I was a teenager, I was a gymnast and I had big dreams of going to the Olympics. Wasn’t quite good enough. But today I’m Halle Berry and I’m proud to say I’m an actor.


10th Annual SAG Awards – 2/22/04 

You know it wasn’t long ago that I was a bus boy in Shore East Diner in Massapequa, Long Island. Now I’m here at the SAG Awards, I’m Alec Baldwin and I’m an actor.

I was discovered by a casting director. I told her I could swim even though I couldn’t and tonight I’m here at the SAG Awards. I’m Keisha Castle-Hughes and I’m an actor.

In 1978 I got my SAG card and since then I’ve been asked to give it back on six separate occasions. I’m Brad Garrett and I don’t belong here.

Hey, I started a long time ago as a shy country boy who was scared to say his name in front of people. Now I’m proud to say I’m Jesse L. Martin and I’m an actor.

From the time I was about three years old and first saw my mother and father on stage, for me it's been the only game in town. I’m Tyne Daly and I’m an actor.

I was eleven years old. I was Sky Corral in Thornton Wilder’s, Our Town, at Manchester Grammar School Dramatic Society. I still feel eleven years old right now. I’m Ben Kingsley and I’m an actor.

When I was a kid I used to pretend I was Indiana Jones. My first day on the Sony lot I met Harrison Ford. Well, not really, I walked by him. But I felt a connection. My name is Eric Szmanda. I’m an actor.

When I was eleven years old my teacher told me I wasn’t mature enough and that I would never be successful as an actor. But here am I am at the SAG awards. I’m Evan Rachel Wood and I’m still an actor.


11th Annual SAG Awards 2/5/05

I was out of work and I got a job in front of a gas station dancing in the street six straight hours in the sun. It was great except I didn’t know anything about makeup so I painted two big white eyes and a big red mouth on myself and later when I went to wash it off I found out that the sun had permanently burned a clown face onto my skin. I’m Alan Alda. I’m an actor.

When I was in the 6th grade I told my mother that I wanted to be an actress and she said that I would grow out of it. Mom, it hasn’t happened yet. I’m Marcia Cross and I’m an actor. 

I turned down three promotions for Manager at a grocery store to go to the Academy of Dramatic Arts. I’m Dennis Haysbert. I’m an actor. 

When I was a young girl, I rode the subway from our apartment in Astoria, Queens to Broadway and 46th street to the High School of Performing Arts. I’m still on that journey. My name is Jessica Walter and I’m an actor.

I can’t wait tables, I can’t drive a cab, I can’t file, and I can’t type. So I’m John Spencer and I'm an actor.

I was an apprentice at summer stock for three solid years where I built the sets, made the wardrobes, and was best known for my ability to clean a bathroom. My name is Jennifer Garner and I’m an actor.


12th Annual SAG Awards 1/29/06

When I arrived in town with dreams of becoming a working actor, the bus dropped me off in front of the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd.. Recently I was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the very same place I got off that bus. I’m Randy Quaid and I’m an actor.

When I announced I wanted to be an actor I was told to take a typing class. I still don’t know how to type. I’m S. Epatha Merkerson and I’m an actor.

When I was thirty years old I was cleaning and repairing toilets for two theater companies for the opportunity to act with no pay. Now I’m on one of the most popular television shows in the world… playing a plumber. I’m James Denton. I’m an actor. 

My first memory of wanting to be an actor came when I saw my mother play the title role in Evita. I watched her die on stage and come back to life in time for the applause and I thought, "hi-diddly-dee." My name is Anne Hathaway and I’m an actor.

When I was in the 2nd grade I memorized the entire “My Name is Barbara” album and announced to Sister Delrina that I would like to perform it for my class, and then I did. My name is Patricia Heaton and I’m an actor.

I’ve been doing this amazing job for eighteen years and I still can’t believe that I get to say I’m Thandie Newton and I’m an actor.


13th Annual SAG Awards 1/30/07

When I was six I was in a camp play. I made the audience cry. Afterwards my dad picked me up in his arms and said to anybody at hand, “my son, Billy!” After that, I never wanted to do anything else. I’m William Shatner and I’m an actor.

When I was three years old I starred in The Wizard of OZ. I played the wicked witch and I knew then I wanted to be an actress. I never wanted to be anything else. And I am proud to say I’m Jada Pinkett Smith and I’m an actor.

Some of my most cherished moments in this business have been conversations that I’ve had with my fellow actors on the set between takes. These conversations can happen anywhere. Sometimes sitting on a bed in a skanky fictitious motel room. In fact that’s how I met my husband…President of the Screen Actors Guild. I’m Marg Helgenberger and I’m an actor.

My first job was when I was fifteen years old and it was an industrial film. I was excited because I was going to be paid as an actor. About a week later I went to my agency to go collect my check and noticed it was empty, literally. No agents, no desks, nothing. The agency went bankrupt, took off with my money, and basically I was screwed out of $700. It was very discouraging at first but I’m glad I stuck with this profession. I sit here tonight, six Screen Actors Guild nominations and two wins later. My name is Freddie Rodríguez and I’m an actor.

I’m Vanessa Williams. Fourth grade: “A Trojan Horse”. I wrote it, choreographed it, played recorder in it, and made my own toga. I’m Vanessa Williams and I’m an actress.

I’ve had my SAG card for fifty-three years and I’m very, very proud of it. But if they don’t send me a new one someday I’m going to have to keep piecing mine back together. My name is Shirley Jones and I’m an actor.


14th Annual SAG Awards 1/27/08

I performed my first scene ever when I was twelve years old in the seventh grade at Birmingham High School. I was very shy and I had no idea what I was doing so I just flung myself off the cliff and felt like I was falling. I’ve been falling ever since. I think that’s kind of what it is: informed falling. I’m Sally Field and I’m an actor.

In 1982 I dropped out of college to follow my dream of becoming a prolonged pain in my parents ass. To that end in 1983 I joined a labor union where I met a group of committed, dedicated, and like-minded people, all committed to ultimately trying to impress and humiliate their parents. I have been a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild for the last 25 years. I am Doug Savant. Mom, Dad, I’m an actor.

Happy Anniversary, Screen Actors Guild. My very first job in show business, I pointed out the parts of the 1952 Ford in the automobile exhibition at the Michigan State Fair. I’m Ellen Burstyn and I’m very proud to say I am an actor.

Happy 75th Birthday, Screen Actors Guild. It was my sister who encouraged me to audition for my very first play The Canada Goose at the Knoxville public school in Ontario. I played the “Wizard of Woe”. I was ten. I’m Grace’s sister, Sandra Oh, and I’m an actor.

I used to walk down runways in my underpants. Then my entire body was painted blue for three movies. Now I play a transgender on a TV show. I’m Rebecca Romijn and I’m a model turned actor.

My favorite thing about acting is that it truly allows you to transform yourself into another person. I’m Johnny Depp and I’m an actor. (Not Johnny Depp, actually Jane Krakowski)

I’ve ridden gigantic sand worms on the planet Erganos, played keyboards with Jim Morrison on stage at the Whiskey and tracked down Laura Palmer’s killer. My card? Screen Actors Guild. Congratulations on your 75th Anniversary. I’m Kyle MacLachlan I’m an actor.


15th Annual SAG Awards 1/25/09

Five years ago I walked into an audition. The role was for an ex-runway model with a white gardener. I chose to go in, 5’2” and Mexican and I got the part. I’m Eva Longoria Parker and I’m an actor. 

When I was twelve years old, I played Tom Sawyer at the Grand Theater at London, Ontario. It was an exhilarating experience. After I got my first laugh, I knew I was hooked. I’m Victor Garber and I am an actor.

I was eleven years old when I stood in the spotlight for the first time as “Mistress of Ceremonies” for a citywide music festival of elementary schools. The feeling was warm and beautiful and I thought, “Hmm. When I grow up I’ll be an actor. I’ll play in the light all the time.” I’m Phylicia Rashad and I’m an actor.

At my very first audition for the grade school production of Alice in Wonderland, the director glared at me and yelled out the following words of advice: “Act better.” I’m trying, Mom. I’m Tom Cavanagh and I’m an actor.

When I was twelve years old, I ran away from my house desperate to audition for my first role. Forty years later, ambitious, and even more desperate, I’m Anil Kapoor. I’m an actor.

I was a struggling actress for eight years before landing the role of Pam on The Office and during that time I worked as a real office temp, answering phones and dealing with crazy bosses. Little did I know I was doing the best research of my life. I’m Jenna Fischer and I’m an actor.

I’ve talked my way out of eleven fights. I’ve cried more this year than most women do in a lifetime. Wherever I go I seek out a mirror, and when one’s not available I’ll make due with a car window or a dark picture. I’m Will Arnett and I’m an alcoholic, (quickly corrects himself) actor!

On January 15th, 2009 a US Airways pilot named Chesley Sullenberger performed an exacting perfect emergency landing into the icy cold waters of Hudson River. It’s a good thing I was not behind the controls of that plane, because I’m Steve Carrell and I’m an actor.


16th Annual SAG Awards 1/23/10

My first acting role was one that critics called a courageous and controversial firestorm. In sixth grade I put my craft and my career on the line and performed the role of Daddy Warbucks with a full head of hair. And I was sure that that performance would have ruined my chances forever of being here tonight and saying I am John Krasinski and I am an actor.

I grew up in Hawaii in a single parent household. I struggled to succeed in a society that didn’t know what to make of me. And now I’m the leader of the free world. Oh my god that’s not me. Sorry. I’m Edie Falco and I’m an actor.

Wow, my IMDB star meter is up 8% in popularity this week. I’m Jeff Garlin and I’m an actor.

My profession has allowed me to have for me and my family a beautiful life in this great country. I am living proof that even someone with a crazy accent can have their dreams come true here. I am Columbian, I love America. I’m Sofia Vergara and I am an actor.

Whoever thought going back to school could be so much fun, and I got my SAG card. I’m Cory Monteith and I’m an actor.

Before I was an actress I wanted to marry Michael Jackson and I would sleep outside his Havenhurst compound every night waiting for him to come out. So as husband and wife, I never pictured us having sex, we just wore matching gloves. I’m Sherri Shepherd and I’m an actor.

In my business, a group of very different people get together with all their different talents and different hang-ups and different this and different that and they try to tell a story. Now when it works, she doesn’t always, but when it works it gives you the rarest of greatest feelings there is to be had in the world. I’m Jeremy Irons and I’m an actor.


17th Annual SAG Awards 1/30/11 

In the past I’ve been a temp, a waiter, a factory worker and a dog walker. In the future, I will be a special guest at car and boat shows, a waiter and a convicted shoplifter. I’m back for now, Jack McBrayer, and I am an actor.

When I was waitressing right out of college I went on my first television audition. The casting director told me to move to Europe because my looks would never make it on TV in America. I’m Julianna Margulies and I’m proud to be an actor.

Believe it or not, when I was younger I was the shyest kid ever. I would hide behind my mom, hold her hand and not talk to anybody. Thankfully I grew out of that. I’m Rico Rodriguez and I’m an actor.

For work I get to play. I get to travel the world and meet interesting people and I get to see the world through my character’s eyes. I am Melissa Leo and I am an actor.

I made my stage debut as senator Barbara Bonkers in the fourth grade production of Dream at Public School #3 and I think it was about aliens but I don’t really remember. I’m Julia Stiles and I’m an actor.


18th Annual SAG Awards 1/29/12

When I was a kid – when I was a kid, I agonized about whether I wanted to be an actor when I grew up, or an astronaut. And both of them have their advantages. Actors get to meet and work with the most beautiful women in the world, and astronauts get to spend long-duration space flights in pressure suits filled with their own urine. [laughter] I’m Jon Cryer and I’m an actor. [applause] 

I grew up in a theater in Mexico with my family. Then, I moved to New York because I wanted to drive a cab like De Niro. Butthen I learned to make guacamoles and I became really good at it. Yeah. Yo soy Demian Bichir, y soy actor Mexicano. [applause] [cheers] 

I got my SAG card twelve years ago in New York City. I made a film called “Cradle Will Rock” in which I had to sing. And I was surrounded by Broadway’s finest, and it was utterly terrifying. I’m Emily Watson. I’m an actor. [applause] 

When I was 15 years old, I played a 15-year-old in my first pilot. Eleven years later, I’m still in high school. Best of it is, I’m Amber Riley and I’m an actor. [applause] 

I’ve played a hyena in a bizarre children’s theater production of Hansel and Gretel. I did Guys and Dolls in a freezing cold warehouse where my only pay was beer. Tonight, I’m at the SAG Awards. And it’s warm here. I’m Jim Parsons and I’m an actor. [applause] 

I was ten years old and I played Mary Poppins at Balmain Primary School in Sydney, Australia. And that was the last time I was allowed to sing in public. My name is Rose Byrne and I am an actor. [applause] [cheers] 


19th Annual SAG Awards 1/27/13

I got cast in my first movie role at 12 years old in the movie National Lampoon's Vacation, playing Chevy Chase’s niece. Today I would be cast as his wife. In two years I will play his mother. [laughter] I am Jane Krakowski and I am an actor. [applause]

I wanted to become an actor when I saw Richard Pryor at nine years  old in the movie Stir Crazy. And I was fascinated with the art. I’m Chris Tucker and I’m an actor. [applause]

I've played a waitress, a cuckoo clock, a quarterback, and a sex surrogate. I?m Helen Hunt and I'm an actor. [applause]

And was at Culver Military Academy I needed an extra hour to graduate and my friend Perry Warren Fiske said "Why don’t you take Dramatics?" I thought, oh, those people were a bunch of weirdos. So then he said, "There's no homework." I'm Hal Holbrook. I'm an Actor. [laughter] [applause]

I showed no signs of being cut out for this kind of work. I never gave a successful Easter speech. I couldn't remember the people's names. When I was five, my mom sat on a third pew going, (sotto voce) "Je…sus! His name is Jesus!" My name is Alfre Woodard. And now I'm an actor! [applause] 

I always loved the great characters,. Characters of the theater, TV shows, and movies, and they always say the right things at the right time. So, I wanted to go into a line of work where the perfect words were always planned for me ahead of time, so I couldn’t run the risk of screwing up or looking stupid.  Which is why I'm Darren Criss, and I'm an acorn-Actor. I'm an actor. [applause]

I grew up in Barranquilla Colombia in a very traditional Catholic home. My father told me, that if I ever did anything artistic I was going to look like a hooker. I told him: with these huge boobs that I inherited from your mother, I already look like a hooker.[laughter] I am Sofia Vergara. And I am an actor. [applause]

20th Annual SAG Awards 1/18/14

I became a member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1977. Since then, I’ve been a teen idol, a “Bad Influence,” worked in “Wayne’s World” and the White House. I’ve been blessed to work in both comedy and drama; but mostly, I’ve been inspired by my heroes, some of whom are here tonight. And I’ve tried to live up to their ability to reach people in moving and surprising ways and to touch them through the characters that I play. Tonight, I’m grateful to be part of a community that gives me the chance to do that. I’m Rob Lowe and I am an Actor. [applause]

So, when I was younger, my mom used to read to me fairy tales, and I grew up believing in I believed in fairies and magic and goblins and trolls. So, naturally, show business was the right line of work for me. And then I’ve been striving to make magic ever since, despite the trolls and goblins. I’m Juliette Lewis. I’m an Actress. [applause]
I knew I wanted to become an actor the first time I saw “Boyz n the Hood” by John Singleton. [applause] I wanted to speak to, speak for and touch people in my community the way that movie touched me. I am Michael Kenneth Williams, and I am an Actor. [applause]
In  1995, I decided to move to New York to become an actor. It was very exciting and very challenging. It was the highs of getting a gig and the frustration of not. A ton of rejection, and never knowing where your next job is going to come from. And NOW…it’s the exact same thing. [laughter] [applause] I’m Tony Hale and I’m an Actor. [applause]
Over 20 years ago, my first acting coach told me I would never make it in this business due to my “pots and pans acting,” which meant loud, annoying, obnoxious and all over the place. I’m Kaley Cuoco Sweeting and I am proud to say, due to my pots and pans acting, I am an Actor. [applause]
Hello. When I was invited to attend the SAG Awards, I literally wept with joy. Then, I caught my reflection in the mirror, and I thought, “Hmm, you look quite interesting when you cry. [laughter] Because I am Steve Coogan, and I am an Actor. [applause]
My first taste of applause came while spinning on my head as a break-dancer. But, eventually, I got the opportunity to play real, heroic Americans, both civilian and in the military. That’s right, baby, I’m not just no butler! My name is Cuba Gooding, Jr., and I am an Actor! [applause]

21st Annual SAG Awards 1/25/15 


Years ago, in the Philippines, when I was working there, in the middle of the jungle, a man came up to me and said, “Mr. Hackman…” [laughter] “I love all your movies, ‘French Connection…” I said, “Wait, wait, I’m Robert Duvall.” 

He says, “Oh, you’re my favorite actor!” [laughter] And, since then, I’m still Robert Duvall, and I’m proud to be an Actor. Thank you. [applause] 
Sports were my first love. I went to college on a basketball scholarship, and was never truly fulfilled. In my senior year of college, I had an opportunity to do a play called “Spunk.” For the first time in my life, I felt like I was at home. My name is Mahershala Ali, and I’m an Actor. [applause] [cheers] 
I got my SAG card on “Orange is the New Black.” I originally auditioned for the imprisoned track star, but they told me I was not quite right for the part, even though I ran track in college. Instead, they said, “We think you might be right for the part of the slightly off-kilter, mildly obsessive character of “Crazy Eyes.” [laughter] My name is Uzo Aduba, and I’m an Actor. [applause] [cheers] 
When I was a little girl growing up in New York City, all I ever wanted to be was Scarlett O’Hara…Oh, well. [laughter] I’m Jennifer Aniston, and I’m an Actor. [applause] [cheers] 
I’m Zach Galifianakis…I’m an Actor? [laughter] [applause]