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Remembering Steve D'Inzillo

Friday, October 20, 2000

Brother Steve D'Inzillo died on October 13, 2000. He was 90 years old. Brother D'Inzillo's many accomplishments and contributions to this Alliance, spanning seven decades, will never be forgotten.

Brother Steve D'Inzillo joined IATSE Local 306 in September 1933. His courage, fighting spirit, and natural leadership abilities brought him together with many of the activists working to change the policies and practices of the Alliance. He was elected to Local 306's Executive Board in 1938, and held office continuously since that time, taking a leave of absence during World War II for voluntary service in the Air Force.

Brother D'Inzillo's story is closely linked with the proud history of New York Local 306'5 Motion Picture Projectionists, Operators, Video Technicians and Allied Craftspeople. The Local's success today is mostly due to its tireless and visionary organizing drives, and it can be safely said that nobody worked harder, with as much success, as Steve D'Inzillo. Brother D'Inzillo was responsible for the outreach efforts that secured contracts with every major cultural institution in New York City utilizing motion picture and/or audiovisual facilities. These institutions included the American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Brother D'Inzillo organized employees at various agencies of the city government, including the Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education, the District Attorney's offices, city hospitals, and the Donnell Branch of the New York Public Library. Through the efforts of Brother D'Inzillo, every New York advertising agency producing commercials was organized and put under contract. employees of public screening rooms and major film labs, as well as producer-distributor screening rooms, were all brought into the ranks. Brother D'Inzillo organized Inflight Motion Pictures for the IA nationwide, as well as for Local 306. During the theater contract talks in 1950-51, Brother D'Inzillo and his associates in Local 306, Herman Gelber and Ernest Lang, negotiated the first employer-funded pension and health care plan in the motion picture and entertainment industry.

Brother D'Inzillo drafted the 1954 resolution to create the East Coast Council of Production Locals. He was appointed Secretary-Treasurer and organizer. All of the production locals in New York City eagerly participated, and the result was a steady rise in membership for all locals involved.

Brother D'Inzillo worked to simplify and facilitate film production in New York City. He met with mayoral candidate John Lindsay, who pledged to establish a New York City Office for Motion Picture and Television Production. The East Coast Council campaigned loud and hard for Lindsay, who was elected mayor and kept his word. The new Office for Film and Television created unprecedented cooperation between the city government and producers, measurably increasing production activities in the city.

Brother D'Inzillo was committed to progressive social and political programs within and outside the union. He created the Projectionist's Action Fund to further the causes of civil rights and environmental protection, and to contribute money to the campaigns of pro-union, pro-human rights candidates for federal office. He developed a program to bring women and minorities into the membership of Local 306. He participated in an effort to rehabilitate 25 convicted criminals. All but two of the ex-offenders became productive members of Local 306. One of the two men who was not successfully rehabilitated assaulted Brother D'Inzillo in the Local 306 office. Brother D'Inzillo suffered the loss of his left eye and severe damage to his right eye.

Brother D'Inzillo ran for President of the Alliance in 1972 and again in 1974. He lost both elections by a small margin, proving himself a powerful player in IATSE politics. In 1978 he was elected a Vice President of the General Executive Board. He used his influence to ensure the election of Al DiTolla to the presidency of the Alliance. Brother D'Inzillo retired from the leadership Local 306 on January 18, 2000.

Brother D'Inzillo is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughter, Nancy II, and two daughters by a previous marriage, three grandsons, a brother and three sisters. A memorial service was held in Portland, Oregon on November 17th. A New York City memorial was held on December 19th at the Museum of Modern Art. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the Oregon Wildlife Federation, P.O. Box 5878, Portland, Oregon 97228.