This has been an amazing year for me. You know I have to thank Tim Burton for seeing me in this part when I didn’t see myself in the part. He said there was no other actor he wanted for this part…and its great to get a part where audiences can laugh a little, cry a little and maybe think a little. And it was a great honor to play this actor who is really gifted. It was sort of homage to actors.
I joined SAG in 1952. It wasn’t my first union. My first was Equity and then AFTRA because it was live television. So I started in theatre and went to live television…and then I became a film actor by default. In that I was doing Sigma Core films and stuff like that in New York. And uh its’ been a long trip.
There are 78,000 actor members of SAG. This is a very meaningful thing to me because it’s my peers and I love actors, I care about actors, they are my life.
Ten years ago, there were casting directors who wouldn’t see me, agents that wouldn’t represent me and I know how tough it is to get a job and then when you get a job to do the job well. It’s a tough, tough life: Peeks and valleys, life and career.
This is a peek and I gotta say, I hope I live long enough to work with every one of those 78,000 people.
Gretchen, Gretchen this is for us and for Bella LaGouste. [Applause]