HOLLYWOOD — In the first slate announcement by presidential candidate Melissa Gilbert, Mike Farrell has agreed to run for 1st VP of the Screen Actors Guild as Gilbert’s running mate.
As Gilbert has done during her monthlong campaign, Farrell blamed current SAG prexy William Daniels for what he perceives as a lack of leadership and civility in the board room. Rival presidential candidate Valerie Harper has been endorsed by Daniels, who is retiring after a single two-year term.
“Civility must be demanded by leadership; moreover, it must be exemplified by leadership,” Farrell said in his statement. “I’m proud to join Melissa Gilbert in her quest to return civility and dignity to the Guild. Working with Melissa on the urgent issues of runaway production and enhanced residual collections will be a priority, as they are the rightful concern of every member of our union, but our union will continue to degrade itself and slip in the esteem of our contemporaries unless we demonstrate, as well as demand, respect within and without the organization.”
Daniels himself has refrained from personal attacks during his tenure and asked members earlier this year to put aside their differences during contract negotiations. Infighting at SAG has pitted backers of Daniels against those loyal to previous prexy Richard Masur.
Farrell, best known for his work on the “MASH” series and who has been a SAG member for 40 years, will be facing board member and Harper backer Anne-Marie Johnson. He said he decided to run after serving as a replacement board member.
“What has been made clear to me through this board experience is that, contrary to my hope and expectation, there is apparently nothing inherent in union membership that guarantees respect for either the person or the social or political position of other members,” he said. “Whether or not we’re in agreement over certain issues, it’s still necessary to honor the fundamental premises of civility, decency and respect for one another’s humanity.”