My grandfather Bruno Stello was a coal miner before there was a union. He worked on his hands and knees 14 hours a day, seven days a week for $12
My first job ever was in 1960, a $16 week (non-union local jobber) in Song of Norway, which was at a small professional theatre in Milwaukee called The Fred Miller Theatre [now the Miramar Theatre].
An Equity card was worth its weight in gold to an actor in the early 1960s, as it still is today.
I was about 21 years old and was appearing as Kim Carter on the television series Here’s Lucy.
I got my Equity card in March 2011, by booking a production of Forever Plaid at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, Missouri.
The year I graduated high school I apprenticed in summer stock at Guy Little, Jr.’s, Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois. I acted, painted floors, sang, built scenery, danced and cleaned toilets.
I got my Equity card in a “Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon” way.
I was a Polish kid who grew up in the back of our family tavern, Airway Liquors, on the southwest side of Chicago. I played a lot of baseball and hung out with the guys in the neighborhood. I was attending an all-boys high school, St. Laurence, when a few of my friends told me that guys were needed for a production of Carousel at Lourdes, the all-girls high school.
After I graduated high school, a bunch of my friends were going to the Chicago open call for performers at Disney theme parks and managed to convince me to come along.
I got my Equity card in 1954 when I was offered a job in a Broadway show, Tonight in Samarkand, starring Louis Jourdan.
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