You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tony Goldwyn, John Wells on Why They’re Playing Their Part in MPTF

For Tony Goldwyn, working with the Motion Picture and Television Fund is the family business.

The “Scandal” star’s grandfather was involved in starting the MPTF, and his father was instrumental in creating the MPTF’s child care center.

“It was just one of his passions, so I inherited it a bit from him,” he says, “But in recent years I have come to realize how extraordinary the organization really is and how much breadth there is to what they actually do.” Last year, Jeffrey Katzenberg asked him to join the board of the MPTF, and that’s when “his eyes really flew open,” he says. “I didn’t understand what an incredible resource the fund is for every single person who works in the entertainment industry. And I came to realize that most people don’t know.”

That’s why he — and other high-profile members of the industry — have embarked on the “We All Play Our Part” campaign to educate people who work in show business about what resources the fund offers, and the importance of making contributions.

Among the campaign’s other advocates is showrunner John Wells (“Shameless,” “Animal Kingdom”), who got involved two years ago after a phone call from Katzenberg as well. He’s now a member of the board of governors, and serves on the committee behind the “WAPOP” campaign.

“The first task we had was just to have a conversation about why is it that so few people are aware of the many services that the organization provides, and also why doesn’t the community as a whole feel as responsible for supporting it,” says Wells.

Goldwyn and Wells see it as a two-step mission: Step one is education —  spreading the word about the MPTF’s resources.  To that end, they’re organizing visits to film and TV sets across town to help spread the message (they stopped by “Scandal” earlier this week, and the rest of the Shondaland shows are on deck). They want to make sure everyone knows the fund is  not just for actors and producers, but also for anyone, at any level, associated with entertainment. “I think a lot of people aren’t really aware that it’s not just for unionized members but it’s for everybody in any area in the industry,” says Wells.

CREDIT: Showtime

Step two is fundraising. The MPTF used to be supported through the payroll pledge campaign, where donations would automatically be deducted from employees’ paychecks. But with so many cast and crew now freelance, that system no longer works. “We’re not just talking about those legacy contributions, which are always wonderful, but the kind of small contributions we can all afford to do,” says Wells. “We really do have to take care of our own, and everybody needs to chip in to make sure that these services are available.”

Goldwyn has seen the benefits of the MPTF first-hand. A crew member on “Scandal” is facing a difficult health care situation in his family, and on Goldwyn’s advice, he reached out to a social worker at the MPTF, and is now getting the support he needs. Another crew member credits the MPTF for saving his life ten years ago, when he was in dire financial straits, and the fund stepped into help cover his bills for six months.

And then there was his own health scare: Goldwyn had an infection in his foot that he’d been ignoring. But then the weekend rolled around, and it needed attention — and his own doctor was unavailable. He went to the MPTF clinic, and praises the care he received. “It’s just a dumb example,” says Goldwyn, who was ultimately diagnosed with a staph infection, “but I would have just kept hobbling through work, and I could have been in real trouble. But the service was unbelievable.”

Those stories will be front-and-center at the fund’s next event, “Reel Stories, Real Lives,” which will be held on November 2. “It’s not about celebrities; it’s not about the most famous people,” says Goldwyn. “It’s about people who have dedicated their lives to their craft. It humanizes the folks in this industry and again reminds people, whether they are a valet parking attendant on a studio lot or a stand in or a cinematographer, we’re there for them. I have to say one of the most gratifying things about being in this industry for a long time is you do develop a genuine sense of community with the people you know and collaborate with.”

More Biz

  • Listen: Sarah Bernhardt and the Birth

    Listen: How Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse Helped Create Modern Celebrity Culture

    They were pioneers in the business of superstardom more than a century ago. Behind the scenes, legendary actors Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse were also entrepreneurs who ran their own companies and controlled every aspect of their careers. The new biography “Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse and the Rivalry That Changed Acting [...]

  • Charter Communications logo

    Charter Reaches $174 Million Settlement on Internet-Throttling Fraud Suit

    Charter Communications agreed to a settlement valued at $174.2 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging the U.S.’s second-biggest cable operator defrauded broadband customers by failing to deliver promised internet speeds. According to the terms of the settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office, Charter will pay $62.5 million in direct refunds to 700,000 active broadband [...]

  • Making a Murderer

    'Making A Murderer' Detective Sues Netflix for Defamation

    A retired sheriff’s detective sued Netflix for defamation on Monday, alleging that the hit series “Making a Murderer” falsely suggested that he planted evidence to frame a murder suspect. Andrew Colborn filed suit in Manitowoc County Circuit Court in Wisconsin, alleging that he had been subject to “worldwide ridicule, contempt and disdain” since the docuseries [...]

  • Yael Stone Geoffrey Rush

    'OITNB' Actress Yael Stone Accuses Geoffrey Rush of Sexual Harassment

    In a New York Times article published Sunday, “Orange Is the New Black” actress Yael Stone alleged that Geoffrey Rush harassed her numerous times while they both worked on a theater production in 2010. She said he exposed himself to her, sent her sexually suggestive text messages, and used a mirror to spy on her [...]

  • Laura Donnelly

    CAA Signs 'Ferryman' Actress Laura Donnelly (EXCLUSIVE)

    CAA has inked Laura Donnelly for representation. Donnelly, who was most recently represented by ICM Partners, won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for best actress this year for her performance in Jez Butterworth’s play “The Ferryman,” directed by Oscar and Tony winner Sam Mendes. Since opening in October, the production has also received two more [...]

  • Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS CorporationAllen

    Moonves Lawyer: CBS Investigation Was 'Foreordained' With 'Baseless Conclusions'

    A lawyer for Leslie Moonves has blasted the conclusions of the CBS internal investigation that cost the former CBS Corp. chairman-CEO the $120 million severance package he was due prior to his Sept. 9 ouster amid a swirl of sexual misconduct allegations. Moonves continues to assert that his workplace-related sexual encounters were consensual, despite numerous [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content