Screen Actors Guild prexy William Daniels and CEO A. Robert Pisano have offered President Bush the services of the guild’s celebrity members to help recovery efforts from last week’s terrorist attacks.
“SAG is willing to help in whatever way possible, and the White House has been very receptive to our offer,” said SAG national director of government relations Lance Simmens.
SAG could help to coordinate appearances of its high-profile members at events at the White House, military bases, hospitals, in public service announcements such as anti-hate campaigns and at fundraisers. “It’s only logical that SAG do everything it can to help, because it’s within our means to step up,” Daniels said.
Simmens said the first collaboration could be announced within a few days.
“I feel confident that we’ll have a plan of action soon for SAG to help the country deal with this tragedy in the weeks and months to come,” Simmens said. “We believe SAG has a role to play in helping the country work through this very difficult time. It just seems like the right thing for us to do now.”
Simmens, who was in New York during the attacks, approached the White House on Monday. Daniels, Simmens and Pisano made the specific offer Tuesday afternoon in a telephone conversation with Chris Henick, deputy assistant to the president.
Daniels said he believes top thesps are more than willing to participate. “I have no doubt that our high-profile people will respond,” he added.
Last week, SAG and the SAG Foundation donated $50,000 to the New York state fund to provide assistance to families who lost relatives in the attacks.
During the Persian Gulf War, SAG suspended dues payments for members who were active in the military, following the practice it had established during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict.
AFTRA helps, too
In a related development, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has been in talks to help the Big Four nets produce a fundraiser that will air Friday ( Daily Variety, Sept. 18). Prexy John Connolly said the show would fall under AFTRA jurisdiction.
Connolly said AFTRA members have been working with union labor councils in organizing relief efforts and are planning a blood drive for next month. “We’re trying to participate in the most useful way possible,” he added.