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Actors behind masks - 

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Scott Jagow: There's a charity that helps folks in the entertainment industry. It's been around for more than a century, but a lot of people aren't aware of it. Might be a good time to check it out, since thousands of writers are on strike. More now from Jeff Tyler.


Jeff Tyler: Back in 1882, acting was not considered a respectable profession. Religious institutions denied actors charity, even refusing them proper burials. So the Actor's Fund was established to provide emergency financial help to anyone in the industry.

For example, the Fund's Keith McNutt says that in 1888:

Keith McNutt: We helped two minstrels, one ballet girl, nine dancers, seven musicians, four stage managers, five circus performers . . .

These days, The Actors' Fund faces a branding challenge.

McNutt: The name obviously is a misnomer now.

Most of the people currently jobless due to the strike are not actors. But they can still tap the Fund for financial aid.

McNutt: We want everybody who works in entertainment to know that they can come if they're in financial crisis.

Most grants are for $500 to $1,000, though McNutt expects those figures will rise if the strike drags on.

In Hollywood, I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

Follow Jeff Tyler at @JeffMarketplace