Geraldine “Gerry” Dreyfuss

Gerry Dreyfuss was a seasoned peace and civil rights activist from New York. Having moved to Los Angeles in 1956 she became a “major” organizer of WSP’s first strike in the city. Dreyfuss welcomed 12 others into her Beverly Hills home on October 15, 1961 to begin planning and promoting for the November 1 demonstration.

Her explanation for WSP’s emergence became legendary. Speaking to the LA Times, she described the group’s humble beginnings, noting that the appeal spread organically.  “You know the saying.” she said, “telephone, television, tell a woman. Well, that’s what we did. And this is the result.” She explained that her acquaintances raised $750 for an ad by holding “a week of cocktail parties and luncheons at our homes.” Dreyfuss’ group sent 150 letters to “women leaders,” although her husband “only gave me $10 for stamps.”

Later in life Dreyfuss appeared in two movies starring her son, the Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss. She died in Los Angeles on October 24, 2000.