I AM AN ACTOR
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 am an actor."