Photo: Carole King
While many people may not have heard of The Actors Fund before the Coronavirus pandemic began, the organization has now become one of the nation’s most prominent charities, having distributed over $3.2 million in just the last four weeks to people in need of financial assistance in the film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance industries.
The Actors Fund has been able to be so generous, in large part, because so many individuals in the theater, film and fashion communities have created unusual fundraising vehicles for it, most notably, Rosie O’Donnell’s one-time resurrection of her famed talk show (which raised in excess of $600,000 for the organization). Other worthy efforts have include Seth Rudetsky’s twice-daily “Stars in the House” program; the weekly “Humpday with Hampshire” online talk show hosted by “Schitt’s Creek” star Emily Hampshire; and a video by Carole King and cast members from the Broadway biomusical “Beautiful,” singing her classic hit “You’ve Got a Friend.”
More recently, popular TV host Frank DiLella devoted two episodes of his Spectrum NY1 talk show “On Stage” to special episodes created to help raise money for the fund, and the recently-launched T-shirt line Topical Tees (www.topicaltees.com) has chosen to devote 25 percent of all profitsfrom sales of its merchandise (including its “Broadway: The Shows Will Go On” shirt) to the Actors Fund.
Starting on April 15, there will be a new weekly video program called “Viral Vignettes,” that has been created to raise money for the Actors Fund. It will feature original short, scripted work starring popular character actors from classic TV shows and films, including Don Most, Barry Bostwick, John Schneider, Renee Taylor and Robert Wuhl, and will be broadcast every Wednesday on the YouTube Channel, Pop Goes the Culture TV.
Meanwhile, The Fund is adding even more workshops to its ongoing arsenal of programs designed to help professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry, including “Financial Wellness for the Entertainment Community Amid COVID-19” and “Job Search Fundamentals Amid COVID-19.”
For more information or to donate funds, please visit www.actorsfund.org
- Brian Scott Lipton