Courageous and charismatic ex-boxer, Herbert Knott Sorrell was business manager of the Motion Picture Painters union, Local 644. A December 1941 Screen Actor magazine article: "Painters Strengthen Labor Ties" stated "...Sorrell's Painters long have been recognized for their straightforward, above board tactics." Sorrell had organized the successful strike against the Walt Disney Studios in 1941, resulting in creation of the Screen Cartoonists Guild, and followed it up with organizing the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU). Authors Larry Ceplair and Steve Englund in "The Inquisition in Hollywood" state the CSU "represented the only hope for a democratic labor union in Hollywood".

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