How Emmy Award-Winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. got his Taft-Hartley

Written by | The Business of Acting

Emmy Award-Winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. shares how he got his Taft-Hartley!

Bill Oberst Jr.

Photo by B. Rene Norman

“My first speaking part was a whopper: the role of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman in The History Channel’s 2008 docudrama SHERMAN’S MARCH. I had been doing national touring stage for a living for 12 years and had always meant to branch out into film. A lull in stage bookings led me to start looking around the internet, and I came across the casting call for SHERMAN’S MARCH on mandy.com.

They were casting in Washington, D.C. the very next day. I got out my webcam, improvised my costume and make-up (utilizing my lace beard from a touring portrayal of Jesus), shot a video of me as Sherman, uploaded it, and submitted it with a link to my video. The next day I got a call to come to D.C. for an audition. Could I come in full uniform and make-up, they wondered? So I found a Civil War reenactor who was kind enough to loan me a uniform and sword, drove to D.C., did my make-up in the Metro station and rode the subway as General Sherman, complete with regimental sword.

I booked it. Nonunion, but a speaking role and a lead one. Shortly thereafter, Catrine McGregor booked me for a couple of union speaking roles. Catrine urged me to give Los Angeles a try, and three years later here I am. I’ve done 40 film and TV projects since moving to LA, but SHERMAN’S MARCH will always be a dear memory, as it was the first time I spoke on film. I do not remember those first lines, but I sure do remember the words that were going through my head as I spoke them. They were “Thanks, Lord, and thanks, Catrine!”

– Bill Oberst Jr.

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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