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The Patrick Quinn Award

Tom Viola to Receive Equity’s Patrick Quinn Award for Distinguished Service to Actors                                               

Tom Viola

Tom Viola, long-time Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) has been selected to receive the 2013 Patrick Quinn Award for Distinguished Service to Actors presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation.

“Through his singular dedication to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Tom’s life for the past 25 years has been focused on raising and distributing money worldwide to help stop and treat not only HIV/AIDS, but also supporting women’s health issues, important social concerns, emergency relief efforts and anything that will improve not only the lives of actors, but people everywhere,” said Marty Casella, Patrick Quinn’s partner and a member of the Award selection committee.  Patrick adored, admired and respected Tom Viola and his dedication to a great cause.  We are pleased to honor Tom for that dedication and salute him for a job well done.”

“It is extremely moving to me to receive this Award,” Viola said, “because Equity has been a part of my life for so many years and Patrick Quinn was a friend for even longer.  It means a great deal to me, but even more importantly, it is a constant reminder that nothing happens without an extraordinary, cohesive, collaborative and committed team.  The accomplishments of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are not something I’ve done; they are something I’ve been fortunate to be a part of.” 

Actor/writer/producer/administrator, Tom Viola, has had a long and exceptional relationship with Actors’ Equity Association since receiving his Equity card in 1978.  He performed in dinner theatres and regional theatres until 1987 when he was hired by Equity for what was to be a temporary assignment.  This employment continued, with Viola eventually being assigned to work with the Union’s 75th Anniversary Committee, then as a Special Projects Coordinator and Assistant to then-President Colleen Dewhurst.  Soon after the Equity Fights AIDS Committee was founded, Viola became Administrative Director.  “Working with Colleen and with then-Executive Director Alan Eisenberg was extraordinary,” Viola says.  “Alan was a mentor and Colleen was an amazing example of what could be accomplished when you were willing to put your heart and soul into whatever it was you were doing.  And for me that meant Equity Fights AIDS.”

In 1992, Viola oversaw the merger of Equity Fights AIDS with Broadway Cares and the organization has been a separate not-for-profit ever since although distinctly and historically attached to Equity.

Viola’s relationship with Patrick Quinn dates back as far as his Equity membership.  They met through mutual friends and later reconnected when Viola joined the Equity staff and Quinn was serving on the Union’s governing Council.  “Truly some of the most significant relationships in my life, both personal and professional, have been formed at Equity and in the Council Room,” Viola says.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations, having raised over $225 million since its founding for much needed services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families and other critical health issues nationwide.

BC/EFA supports seven programs at The Actors Fund of America and, in addition, awards grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in 48 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Under Viola’s stewardship, BC/EFA joined with Visual AIDS to create the iconic Red Ribbon Project, which has become the public face for AIDS awareness and also adopted the universally-recognized dictum, “What we do together makes a difference.”

In 2010, Viola was awarded the Tony Honor “in recognition of the leadership, advocacy and creativity with which he has mobilized the theatre community’s response to AIDS and other critical health issues.” 

The Patrick Quinn Award was created in 2007 following the death of the former President of Actors’ Equity Association (2000-2006), who died on September 24, 2006 and whose service to the Union dated from 1977.  The Award, established in fulfillment of a bequest in Patrick’s will, consists of a specially-designed Lalique crystal Golden Retriever and a check.  Members of the selection committee, in addition to Casella, are:  Christopher Quinn, Patrick’s nephew; Anne Fortuno, Quinn’s  assistant at AEA; and  friends and Councillors Judy Rice, Madeleine Fallon and Doug Carfrae.


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway

Quinn served as Equity's President from 2000-2006, and held many leadership positions within the Union. He was a founding member of Equity Fights AIDS, and served as second VP of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He was a Trustee of The Actors' Fund of America, the Equity-League Health, Pension and 401(k) Trust Funds, and First VP of the Actor's Equity Foundation. In 2005, Quinn was honored with the Edwin Forrest Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts by the Walnut Street Theatre, for his work both onstage and as President of Actors' Equity.

Recipients of the Patrick Quinn Award are:

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