Casting Executive Ethel Winant’s interview is now online. Ms. Winant discusses her early years casting for live anthologies, her role as one of the first female network executives, and her experiences as a network casting executive for CBS and NBC.
Click here to access Ethel Winant’s entire 7-part interview.
Here are some excerpts:
From Part 4
Q You were one of the first female network executives. What was it like to be the only woman at the top?
I’d been the only woman for so long that I never thought about it. I mean there were things that you gotta do. Like, in the executive dining room there was a bathroom which had no door, no lock. So, for years,when I went to go to the bathroom, I would go outside, take the elevator, go down and go to the lady’s room. And, finally, I just said, well, I’m not going do this anymore. I figured out that if I took my shoes off and left my shoes outside the door that these guys, because they would all go in together, that they would know that I was in the bathroom. They wouldn’t walk in. I was always the only woman. For years, and years and years.
From Part 7
What advice would you give someone who’s starting out as a casting director?
It’s hard now, I think it’s harder to be a good casting director now because the world is so much bigger. I used to have this really simple advice which was to watch a lot of television, watch a lot of movies, start making lists for yourself and every time you see somebody that you like, write their name down. If you watch a television show, if you watch a movie, if every time you go to a play, keep lists, keep cards, do all that. It’s really what it’s about — seeing as many people as you can, going to as many plays, workshops as you can. I don’t think there’s any way to learn it.
In her 7-part oral history interview, Ethel Winant (1922-2003) discusses her start in television as a volunteer for Studio One, produced by Worthington Minor. Winant talks about her shift into casting and her job with David Susskind’s Talent Associates. Winant speaks about her experience as one of the first, high-ranking female executives in television, working for CBS and NBC as well as her encounters with the Blacklist. Winant’s fondest memories in television focus on her work as a casting director for Playhouse 90, and the talented people she worked with: John Houseman, John Frankenheimer, Martin Manulis, Fred Coe and Hubbell Robinson. Additionally she talks about casting such classics as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Shogun. The interview was conducted on August 7, 1996 by Sunny Parich.