New York – The IATSE is mourning the December 19 loss of our dear friend Irving Cheskin, who worked for almost fifty years with unwavering energy on behalf of the entertainment industry’s retirement and health benefit funds. He was 94 when he died and still working as a consultant to the Broadway League. Beloved on both sides of the negotiating table, Irving will always be considered “the father” of almost every health, retirement and pension benefit plan enjoyed today by over 100,000 workers in entertainment across the country.
IA International President Matthew D. Loeb said, “We have lost a great and caring voice in the world of entertainment, and a true friend. There are few people in any facet of our industry who have worked as long and tirelessly for the benefit of those working in the various industries in which we represent working people. He was an advocate for them and we will miss him dearly.”
Irving was Executive Director of the Broadway League, then known as the League of New York Theatres, from 1961 to 1982. In 1967, he helped secure a network television deal for the foundering Tony Awards, ensuring that this now widely anticipated annual event has the recognition it deserves. In 1973, the League broadened its scope to embrace the touring Broadway industry, and changed its name to the League of American Theatres and Producers. In 1982, Irving became the League’s Director of Pension & Welfare, now called Employee Benefit Funds. He stepped down as Co-Director at the age of 94, but continued to work for the League as a consultant.
On Tuesday, December 23, at exactly 7:00 p.m., the marquees of all Broadway theatres were dimmed for one minute in his honor.
Our heartfelt condolences go to Mildred, his wife of 67 years, who survives him.