Joseph Ruskin Posthumously Receives Equity's Patrick Quinn Award for Distinguished Service to Actors
Joseph Ruskin began his Equity service in l964 on the Western Advisory Board (now the Western Regional Board) for which he later was elected Chairman. In 1976, he was elected to the first of several terms as Western Regional Vice President where, he said, he would be able to bring his experience to bear more strongly in Council's deliberations. "I believe," he said, "that all of us who stand for office in this union must be ready to commit our time and resources to Equity and to organizations and governmental committees that are dedicated to goals compatible with those of Equity." To this end, he also was on the board of the California Confederation of the Arts and the California Theatre Council. He continued as Western Regional Vice President until 1991 when he was elected to Council.
Ruskin served on scores of Western committees, including House Affairs, Ethnic Minorities, Election Procedures, Legislative, Constitutional Review, Membership Education, Hollywood Area Theatre and LORT and served as deputy under many Equity contracts. He also helped to formulate Equity's National Representation Plan, which became effective in 1992 and helped to decentralize the union. In 2003, Ruskin received the Lucy Jordan Recognition Award presented by the Western Regional Stage Managers' Committee to an individual from the Western Region who goes "above and beyond the call of duty" in his or her relationship with the membership of Equity. An equal opportunity volunteer, he also had served on the SAG and AFTRA Boards.
Although he had more than 120 television credits and appeared in 25 films, Ruskin began and ended his career on the stage. His first professional appearances were at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and the Rochester Arena Stage and his last performance was in The Crucible as a member of the Antaeus Company of Los Angeles.
The Patrick Quinn Award for Distinguished Service to Actors was established in 2007. Quinn, a former President of Equity (2000-2006) and Executive Director designate, who died on September 24, 2006, left a portion of his estate to establish an award to be given to a person who has worked tirelessly for the betterment of actors. The award consists of a check and a Lalique crystal Golden Retriever. Members of the award selection committee are: Martin Casella, Quinn's longtime partner; Christopher Quinn, his nephew; Councillors Judy Rice, Madeleine Fallon and Doug Carfrae; and Anne Fortuno, Quinn's assistant.
Previous recipients include Jeanna Belkin, a Councillor for more than 50 years and Chair of the Equity Pension and Health Trustee Caucus for 40 years; Alan Eisenberg, former Equity Executive Director; Conard Fowkes, Councillor, Secretary/Treasurer and co-founder of the VITA program; and Tom Viola, Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.