Ethel Winant

Casting Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Ethel Winant (1922-2003) discusses her background in theater and how she got 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. 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 ensemble shows as The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sunny Parich conducted the interview in Beverly Hills, CA on August 7, 1996.

"It's harder to be a good casting director now because the world is so much bigger. I used to have this simple advice which was to watch a lot of television, watch a lot of movies, start making lists and every time you see somebody that you like, write their name down. Keep lists, keep cards, do all that. I don't know if it's possible anymore, but I think it's really what it's about -- seeing as many people as you can."

Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her college years and working at the Pasadena Playhouse; on her early involvement in television via the Pasadena Playhouse, and on seeing television at the 1939 Worlds Fair
11:23
On her experience with World War II; on moving to New York City in 1945, and on the cultural and artistic scene in Manhattan at that time; on working with Tennessee Williams as an agent's assistant
08:51
On working in the Broadway theater, and getting involved with casting for television via Studio One
07:15

Chapter 2

On going to work for David Susskind at Talent Associates; on the first television show she cast, Justice, and on casting Armstrong Circle Theatre; on dealing with the network on casting blacklisted actors and minorities on television in the '50s, and on the kind of talent that was drawn to the classic anthology series' of the era
12:45
On going to work casting for Playhouse 90; on casting various Playhouse 90 productions, including "Days of Wine and Roses"; on the importance of casting and on the different types of casting
17:31

Chapter 3

On the craft of casting for television; on learning how to cast for television and on dealing with directors and producers when casting; on casting Suzy Parker in Playhouse 90's production of "The Death of Manolete"
10:21
On the differences between a casting director and a talent scout; on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on casting Perry Mason
09:47
On helping to cast All in the Family and other shows for CBS; on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist on shows like Armstrong Circle Theatre
04:38

Chapter 4

On dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist as a casting director; on difficulties she encountered in casting minority actors for shows like Playhouse 90 and The United States Steel Hour's production of "Doomsday at Noon"
11:01
On Playhouse 90's productions of "Portrait of a Murderer" and "Judgement at Nuremberg", and on network and sponsor censorship
09:49
On being named Vice President of Talent and Casting at CBS; on rising up through the ranks at CBS as a woman
08:30

Chapter 5

On being the first female executive at CBS and dealing with other executives like William S. Paley; on her mentors including Audrey Wood and Irene Selznick and how she felt about her career; on the then-current state of television
15:24
On producing The Great Adventure; on becoming Vice President of Movies and Miniseries at NBC in 1975 and later going to work for Metromedia; on producing made-for-television movies and miniseries and on not wanting to work on feature films and on career highlights
14:57

Chapter 6

On various accolades she's received, and on career regrets; on the Golden Age of Television and what represents the best of television; on advice to aspiring casting directors
13:29
On her personal qualities and what she might have done without television; on how she'd like to be remembered; on various people with whom she has worked in her career
15:39

Chapter 7

On various people she's worked with in her career
07:11
On b-roll clips from her career- Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward on the set of Playhouse 90; Jack Lemmon and cast on the set of Playhouse 90; with the staff of Playhouse 90; Buster Keaton and cast on the set of Playhouse 90; Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie on the set of Playhouse 90's production of "Days of Wine and Roses"; cast photo of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; with her best friend in high school; on the set of "Andersonville" with John Frankenheimer; a script for Shogun; John Houseman
22:38
Shows

All in the Family

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Ethel Winant on helping to cast for All in the Family and other shows for CBS
02:46

Armstrong Circle Theatre

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Ethel Winant on the first television show she cast, Justice, and on casting Armstrong Circle Theatre
02:11
Ethel Winant on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist on shows like Armstrong Circle Theatre

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:45

Perry Mason

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Ethel Winant on casting Perry Mason: Raymond Burr
03:03

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Ethel Winant on the kind of talent that was drawn to shows like Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
04:51

Playhouse 90

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Ethel Winant on going to work casting for Playhouse 90
04:22
Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "Days of Wine and Roses": Cliff Robetson
01:07
Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "The Death of Manolete"
01:43
Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "The Last Clear Chance" starring Paul Muni
03:25
Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "The Old Man", the first production on television to utilize edited video tape
01:38
Ethel Winant on casting Suzy Parker in Playhouse 90's production of "The Death of Manolete"
01:18
Ethel Winant on difficulties she encountered in casting minority actors for shows like Playhouse 90 and The United States Steel Hour's production of "Doomsday at Noon"
04:51
Ethel Winant on Playhouse 90's productions of "Portrait of a Murderer" and "Judgement at Nuremberg", and on network and sponsor censorship
09:49

Playhouse 90: "Days of Wine and Roses"

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Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "Days of Wine and Roses"
01:07

Playhouse 90: "The Death of Manolete"

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Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "The Death of Manolete"
01:44
Ethel Winant on casting Suzy Parker in Playhouse 90's production of "The Death of Manolete"
01:18

Playhouse 90: "The Old Man"

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Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "The Old Man", the first production on television to utilize edited video tape
01:38

Studio One

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Ethel Winant on working in the Broadway theater, and getting involved with casting for television via Studio One
07:15

United States Steel Hour, The

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Ethel Winant on difficulties she encountered in casting minority actors for shows like Playhouse 90 and The United States Steel Hour's production of "Doomsday at Noon"
04:51
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

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Ethel Winant on early involvement in television via the Pasadena Playhouse, and on seeing television at the 1939 Worlds Fair
02:56

Advice

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Ethel Winant on advice to aspiring casting directors
02:06

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Ethel Winant on Playhouse 90's productions of "Portrait of a Murderer" and "Judgement at Nuremberg", and on network and sponsor censorship
09:49

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Ethel Winant on her mentors including Audrey Wood and Irene Selznick and how she felt about her career
06:59

Diversity in Television

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Ethel Winant on dealing with the network on casting blacklisted actors and minorities on television in the '50s
02:08
Ethel Winant on difficulties she encountered in casting minority actors for shows like Playhouse 90 and The United States Steel Hour's production of "Doomsday at Noon"
04:51
Ethel Winant on rising up through the ranks at CBS as a woman
01:26
Ethel Winant on being the first female executive at CBS and dealing with other executives like William S. Paley
05:58

Historic Events and Social Change

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Ethel Winant on early involvement in television via the Pasadena Playhouse, and on seeing television at the 1939 Worlds Fair
02:56
Ethel Winant on her experience with World War II
03:41

Hollywood Blacklist

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Ethel Winant on dealing with the network on casting blacklisted actors and minorities on television in the '50s
02:08
Ethel Winant on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist on shows like Armstrong Circle Theatre
01:54

Industry Crossroads

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Ethel Winant on dealing with the network on casting blacklisted actors and minorities on television in the '50s
02:08
Ethel Winant on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist on shows like Armstrong Circle Theatre
01:54
Ethel Winant on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist as a casting director
06:10

Minorities

View Topic
Ethel Winant on dealing with the network on casting blacklisted actors and minorities on television in the '50s
02:08
Ethel Winant on difficulties she encountered in casting minority actors for shows like Playhouse 90 and The United States Steel Hour's production of "Doomsday at Noon"
04:51

Pivotal Career Moments

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Ethel Winant on her mentors including Audrey Wood and Irene Selznick and how she felt about her career
06:59

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Ethel Winant on the Golden Age of Television and what represents the best of television
05:40

Technological Innovation

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Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "The Old Man", the first production on television to utilize edited video tape
01:38

Television Industry

View Topic
Ethel Winant on dealing with the network on casting blacklisted actors and minorities on television in the '50s
02:08
Ethel Winant on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist on shows like Armstrong Circle Theatre
01:54
Ethel Winant on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist as a casting director
06:10
Ethel Winant on Playhouse 90's productions of "Portrait of a Murderer" and "Judgement at Nuremberg", and on network and sponsor censorship
09:49
Ethel Winant on the then-current state of television
02:25
Ethel Winant on the then-future of television
03:51
Ethel Winant on advice to aspiring casting directors
02:06

War

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Ethel Winant on her experience with World War II
03:41

Women

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Ethel Winant on rising up through the ranks at CBS as a woman
01:26
Ethel Winant on being the first female executive at CBS and dealing with other executives like William S. Paley
05:58

World War II

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Ethel Winant on her experience with World War II
03:41
Professions

Casting Director

View Profession
Ethel Winant on the importance of casting and on the different types of casting
05:13
Ethel Winant on learning how to cast for television and on dealing with directors and producers when casting
04:26
Ethel Winant on the differences between a casting director and a talent scout
01:53
Ethel Winant on advice to aspiring casting directors
02:06

Talent Professionals

View Profession
Ethel Winant on the craft of casting for television
04:35
Ethel Winant on learning how to cast for television and on dealing with directors and producers when casting
04:26
Ethel Winant on the differences between a casting director and a talent scout
01:53
Ethel Winant on advice to aspiring casting directors
02:06
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Ethel Winant on working in the Broadway theater, and getting involved with casting for television via Studio One
07:05
Ethel Winant on the first television show she cast, Justice, and on casting Armstrong Circle Theatre
02:11
Ethel Winant on the kind of talent that was drawn to shows like Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
04:51
Ethel Winant on casting Playhouse 90
12:17
Ethel Winant on Playhouse 90's productions of "Portrait of a Murderer" and "Judgement at Nuremberg", and on network and sponsor censorship
09:49

Comedy Series

View Genre
Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:45

Drama Series

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Ethel Winant on producing The Great Adventure
03:17

Legal Dramas

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Ethel Winant on casting Perry Mason: Raymond Burr
03:03
People

Edward Asner

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Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Edward Asner
04:45

Raymond Burr

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Ethel Winant on casting Perry Mason: Raymond Burr
03:03
Ethel Winant on Raymond Burr
01:04

Fred Coe

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Ethel Winant on Fred Coe and John Frankenheimer
01:32

John Frankenheimer

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Ethel Winant on Fred Coe and John Frankenheimer
01:33

Valerie Harper

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Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Valerie Harper
04:45

George Roy Hill

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Ethel Winant on George Roy Hill
01:46

John Houseman

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Ethel Winant on John Houseman
02:29

Ted Knight

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Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Ted Knight
04:45

Cloris Leachman

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Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Cloris Leachman
04:45

Gavin MacLeod

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Ethel Winant on casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Gavin MacLeod
04:45

Martin Manulis

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Ethel Winant on Franklin J. Schaffner, Arthur Penn, and Martin Manulis
01:34

Mary Tyler Moore

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Ethel Winant on David Susskind and Mary Tyler Moore
02:00

Ralph Nelson

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Ethel Winant on Frank Stanton and Ralph Nelson
02:31

William S. Paley

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Ethel Winant on being the first female executive at CBS and dealing with other executives like William S. Paley
05:59
Ethel Winant on Hubbell Robinson and William S. Paley
01:59

Arthur Penn

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Ethel Winant on Franklin J. Schaffner, Arthur Penn, and Martin Manulis
01:34

Rob Reiner

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Ethel Winant on helping to cast for All in the Family and other shows for CBS: Rob Reiner
02:46

Cliff Robertson

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Ethel Winant on casting for Playhouse 90's production of "Days of Wine and Roses": Cliff Robetson
01:07

Hubbell Robinson

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Ethel Winant on Hubbell Robinson and William S. Paley
01:57

Franklin J. Schaffner

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Ethel Winant on Franklin J. Schaffner, Arthur Penn, and Martin Manulis
01:34

Rod Serling

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Ethel Winant on Fred Silverman and Rod Serling
00:42

Fred Silverman

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Ethel Winant on Fred Silverman and Rod Serling
00:42

Frank Stanton

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Ethel Winant on Frank Stanton and Ralph Nelson
02:31

David Susskind

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Ethel Winant on going to work for David Susskind at Talent Associates
03:35
Ethel Winant on David Susskind and Mary Tyler Moore
02:00

Grant Tinker

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Ethel Winant on Grant Tinker and Leonard Goldenson
00:37

Tennessee Williams

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Ethel Winant on working with Tennessee Williams as an agent's assistant
01:57

Audrey Wood

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Ethel Winant on her mentors including Audrey Wood and Irene Selznick and how she felt about her career
06:59

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