Jesse Tyler Ferguson

It's every performer's goal: joining the Screen Actors Guild. Proud card-carrying members share their stories.

"I got my SAG card doing the first ever commercial for Dasani bottled water. I thought I only got the part because of my red hair but then the commercial was shot in black and white and I realized I got the part could I could sell the s--- out of overpriced bottled water." — Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family, nominee for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


"For Glee, because it was my first job ever. Amazing, right?" — Chris Colfer, Glee, nominee for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

"I got my SAG card doing an episode of Murder, She Wrote with my heroine Angela Lansbury. I played an English floozy." — Jane Leeves, Hot in Cleveland, nominee for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


"I did an Excedrin commercial in like, 1980. The campaign was 'When you have a headache, what does extra strength mean to you?' It meant paying my rent, getting my SAG card and it led to a meeting with Steven Spielberg for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Karen Allen got the part, but it was still pretty cool". — Wendy Malick, Hot in Cleveland, nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


"Fran Van Hartesveldt, a commercial agent in town, explained to me that to get a SAG card, I needed a job and to get a job, I needed a SAG card. He had pity on me and gave me one line in a show called The Great Gildersleeve. Years later, when I got my own show I hired Fran as one of my writers." — Betty White, Hot in Cleveland, nominee for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


"I got my SAG card having one line in The Doors. I was very sassy with [director] Oliver Stone in my audition, so he offered me the job on the spot. I had to make up a line to get my SAG card. In every take I kept making the line a little longer until Oliver yelled at me."  — Lisa Edelstein, House

"I got it on a TV show called Throb. I played a little kid who was stalking Jane Leeves." — Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother

"I got my SAG card for the movie Ransom. I had no idea what it was for. It was one of the first things I heard from my agent: 'You got the job, now go get your SAG card.'"— Donnie Wahlberg, Blue Bloods

"I did a Miller Light Ice commercial, and I had to be a very breathy woman walking to the bar breathing, 'Miller Light Ice.'" — Angie Harmon, Rizzoli & Isles

"It was an anti-drug PSA. This was the first thing I ever auditioned for. They didn't pay me to do the commercial, but they gave me my SAG card." — Alison Brie, Community

"I had five lines in a movie called Two Evil Eyes. I had to play the violin, and as it turns out, I had played as a child." — Julie Benz, No Ordinary Family

"It was in an ad for diapers. My mother is an actress and she got a commercial. They needed a baby and she said, 'I have one.' I got my SAG card before my first birthday."
Kelli Williams, Lie to Me

"I got my SAG card when I auditioned for a show called Kate and Allie. I was cast for the pilot as the guy who dated both Kate and Allie. I remember the writer looking at me and saying, 'God, I keep hiring actors that aren't union, but you're the one. So do you mind getting your card?' I said, 'No, in fact, I've been trying to get my card for some time now.'" — Kelsey Grammer

The SAG Awards airs January 30, 8/7c, on TBS and TNT.

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!