Honoring Barbara Diamond and the Sacrifices of Strikes Past

The following is letter from Paul Diamond, son of I.A.L. Diamond (Billy Wilder's writing partner, "Some Like It Hot", "The Apartment"). This message was initially meant only for members of his strike team, but with Paul's permission we reprint it here for our readers.

Dear Mick -- if you would, pass this on to the other Barham Gate Strikers...

Some of you know me better than others, but this is for all of us. I've been on the Barham gate with Mick Betancourt's team since day one (tallish, skinny, bald under baseball cap/beanie, elderly, doesn't chant), and while I may have missed a few hours, I haven't ever missed an entire day. I haven't missed a day because my mother, who passed away this morning after a long and unpleasant illness, insisted I go instead of spending the time at her side. She insisted, because she knew better than any of us how important it was for us to be out there. Barbara Diamond was never a member of the WGA -- she was a junior writer at MGM for a couple of years in the early-mid forties -- but she married into the Guild, and married rather well at that. I.A.L. Diamond, my father, and his generation of Guild members struck to get us -- their descendants -- pension, health and residuals. Their strike was painful. (You know the story -- no residuals for "Some Like it Hot," or "The Apartment," or "Sunset Boulevard," none for the Epstein brothers for "Casablanca," nada for "Citizen Kane.") But it was necessary. As is this one. My father's strike (and my generation's three walkouts as well) made sure that I would be able to sustain (however haphazardly) a thirty year career. More important to me at this moment, it meant that after my father's death almost 20 years ago, Mom continued to have those benefits and that revenue, helping to put her grandchildren through school, enabling her to travel and live in comfort as she aged, and then die in her own home with her medical expenses beyond Medicare paid for by the Writers Guild-Industry Health Fund. Without our ability to gut out a strike, none of this would have been possible. So while I'd like any friends, acquaintances or perfect strangers to donate a couple of bucks to the Writers Guild Foundation (7000 W. Third St. LA 90048 earmarking it for the Library in memory of Barbara Diamond), what I'd really like, if we're still out on January 7th, is to see every mother's son and daughter back on the picket lines. It's beyond important.

Mick, maybe this time, I'll chant a little.

Paul Diamond


Amused2bHere said...

I recently rented and watched "Some Like It Hot" on DVD. It was a special anniversary edition, and the commentary by Paul Diamond, along with interviews with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, was so informative and entertaining. To think that there are no residuals for that great work: it's a crime!

I hope they stay on strike as longs as it takes to get a fair deal. We can't let the greedy monsters win!!

beverlyvista said...

Oddly enough, given the circumstances, I have it on good authority that the commentary was Paul Diamond interpreting Barbara Diamond's take on I.A.L. Diamond's stories regarding SLIH -- after all, Paul was only seven or eight when the picture was shot. It was a family affair, that commentary.