Ellen Burstyn

I'm originally from Detroit, Michigan, and started as a model in the mid-50s. Then, I worked as a chorus dancer as one of the 16 "Gleason Girls" on The Jackie Gleason Show. I landed my first Broadway show and earned my Equity card in the 1957 comedy Fair Game, co-starring Sam Levene. I was very proud to get that card – it made me feel blessed and respected as an actress and union member.

Editor’s Note: Ellen Burstyn served as the tenth and first woman president of Actors’ Equity Association from 1982 until 1985.