Spring 2019

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each other's faces, being in the same moment together. When they would call us to the set, we got there connected already. And sometimes we'd keep the connection going until the first line of dialogue. GC: I am really struck by a play that you did, The Owl and the Pussycat, in 1964. This was the first really colorblind cast. AA: Yeah, it was originally not written for a black woman. And Diana Sands played it as written. There was never a reference in the play. And yet, some people in the audience were shocked when we kissed, and we got hate mail. GC: How did it happen? Was this something the director had envisioned? AA: No, the producer … was a Caucasian guy married to a black woman, and very concerned about race [and] race relations. So it meant something to him to do that. GC: As you know, we're in an action right now with BBH regarding commercials. Your taking a stand and supporting the union and the members regarding BBH has meant so much to the members. It really speaks to being in a union. There is a brotherhood-sisterhood; we're here to take care of each other. And you really stepped up and leaned in, and I had to say it out loud to you. AA: Well, thank you; let me return it. You know, as a young actor, I was doing a play in Italy with my father when I was in my early 20s. We were doing the play in English, but it was an Italian production company. And we would get paid in cash every night after the performance. And that was the habit there, because if you waited till the end of the week, you might not be able to find a producer. And if you didn't have a guarantee of a way to fly home, you might not be able to leave. It became very clear to me during that production why we need a union. Why we have to be organized. Because when we're on our own, one person against an unscrupulous producer, it's just you. You know, we work very hard to learn how to be artists. And then we have to operate in a business environment. And the business environment, although it's called "show business," is run mostly by people who are interested in the business part of it. And we're just one of the commodities that make up the product that they sell. When they started calling movies product, I felt we were in trouble. GC: Right. And sometimes we are. AA: Yeah. GC: Congratulations on being the recipient of the 55th Life Achievement Award for SAG-AFTRA. It was wonderful, wonderful to see you receive it, and it's an honor to be with you here today. AA: Oh, thank you. To watch the full interview, visit | Spring 2019 | SAG-AFTRA 57

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