Celebs eclipse issues as ballots go out
Nothing is ever certain at SAG — except for star power.
On Aug. 26, the Screen Actors Guild launched its first election since the raucous rerun contest last March, and celeb candidates have weighed in en masse.
It’s a landmark contest that will see the current national board of 107 members whittled down to 63.
All board seats are up for election except those of president Melissa Gilbert, secretary Elliot Gould and treasurer Kent McCord. In Hollywood, 109 candidates are running for 33 seats, while 48 are running in New York for 15 slots.
High-profile candidates include a pair of Oscar winners — incumbents Richard Dreyfuss and Cliff Robertson — along with Maria Conchita Alonso, Tom Bosley, Seymour Cassel, James Cromwell, Richard Crenna, Morgan Fairchild, Mike Farrell, Frances Fisher, Valerie Harper, Jane Kaczmarek, Diane Ladd, Esai Morales, Tony Roberts, Fred Savage, Sam Waterston and Noah Wyle.
Former SAG prexies William Daniels and William Schallert also are running. And in a show of spousal support, Daniels’ wife, Bonnie Bartlett, and Gilbert’s husband, Bruce Boxleitner, have entered the race.
Key issues include the expired master franchise agreement with talent agents, cost-cutting, contract enforcement, runaway production and a possible merger with AFTRA.
The election also is shaping up as a referendum on the administrations of Gilbert and Daniels, with Gilbert having backed easing ownership rules for agencies and Daniels against any loosening of the now-expired restrictions.
Their respective camps blame each other for SAG’s current problems, but one thing’s for certain: The stars from both sides undoubtedly will lead the voting when results are announced Sept. 26.