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SAG Elects Bigger Names to Board

Labor: In the past, the guild has been criticized for including too many actors who do little or no acting.


A group of higher profile film and TV actors--including Valerie Harper, Elliott Gould, Fred Savage, Tom Bosley and the late Steve Allen--has been elected by Los Angeles actors to the Screen Actors Guild's national board of directors.

Results of the election, announced late Friday, are unlikely to shift direction of the guild, which became more combative in negotiations following the election of William Daniels as president a year ago.

SAG just finished a bitter six-month strike against the advertising industry. The board members elected Friday were active supporters during the strike. Next year, SAG begins negotiations with studios and networks over its film and TV contract.

The election does, however, add more recognizable names to SAG's 105-member board, which in the past has been criticized as including too many actors who do little or no acting.

Others elected include Melissa Gilbert, Sally Kirkland, Frances Fisher and Joe Pantoliano.

SAG said its board will determine how to fill Allen's seat as quickly as possible. Allen died last Monday, one day before the deadline to return ballots that had been mailed to members.

Stars in the past have often shunned guild activities, in part because of the time commitment and also because SAG did not want actors with production companies to serve on its board because of potential conflicts of interest. Major stars often act as producers on their projects.

Daniels and others have sought to encourage stars to get involved with the union.

Actors such as Tim Robbins, Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon were highly active during the strike, and such top stars as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts turned out for strike events.

SAG also has loosened rules about producers serving on its board so members can recuse themselves temporarily during periods when they are producing.

In all, Los Angeles members elected 25 members to the board. Separately, New York's members elected five members, including actor Tony Roberts, while members in Chicago and Washington elected one member each.

SAG is considering reducing the size of its board. It has frequently been criticized as being too large and unwieldy, including in a recent consultant's report.

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