"There's no Oscar for casting because most people who aren't informed feel that directors and producers come up with all the good ideas," says Marion Dougherty. "Ha! Without good casting, there would be no good pictures."
Dougherty, now a 60ish vice president of talent at Warner Bros., is the person who shaped the casting system into what it is today. Before Dougherty's flex of muscle in the the late '50s, motion picture and television casting was identical to the theatrical "cattle call," where hundreds of actors are herded into a room, eyed by the director and most of the time dismissed (because of union rules "open casting calls" still persist in the stage world).
Dougherty, who got her start in New York casting television dramas, saw that this was not only humiliating for actors but a waste of time for directors. And so she pioneered the system in which a casting director interviews the masses and then goes to the director with the top five to 10 choices for a role.