This article was corrected on Sept. 23, 2002.
A typically raucous SAG election will come to a close tonight with 157 candidates vying for 46 national board seats in Los Angeles and New York.
The large number of candidates has forced the Guild to abandon its Hollywood headquarters and rent a ballroom at the Radisson Hotel, where Integrity Voting Systems will compile and announce the results.
Key issues debated during the two-month campaign have been SAG’s impasse with agents, the value of the 2000 commercials strike, possible merger with AFTRA, the conduct of current prexy Melissa Gilbert and the unprecedented move in January to throw out last fall’s election due to rules violations by SAG staff.
Gilbert’s allies, including James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Jane Kaczmarek, Cliff Robertson and Noah Wyle, have campaigned under the United Screen Actors banner in New York and the Restore Respect campaign in Hollywood. They have urged that SAG hold off on trying to regain oversight on agents, which was dropped in April when SAG members voted down a revamp to the master franchise agreement, and contended that SAG should continue avoiding confrontation with agents.
Gilbert’s opponents, who include Tom Bosley, Richard Crenna, former prexy William Daniels, Valerie Harper and Esai Morales, have urged SAG to set a “drop-dead” date under which agents would be required to adhere to the franchise agreement if they are to rep SAG members. Those candidates are running as part of the Leadership Coalition in Hollywood and the Clean Slate in Gotham.
Roughly two dozen celebrities are expected to lead the voting, so the most closely watched will be among those voted in to the remaining seats. The election is also the first in a reorganization to cut the size of SAG’s 107-seat board; all seats are open except those of Gilbert, secretary Elliot Gould and treasurer Kent McCord.
Winners in branch election results already announced include:
Steve Fried, Arizona; Eileen Parkinson and John Carter Brown, Chicago; Kathryn Christopher, Colorado; John Davies, Dallas; Dianne Jones, Detroit; Jim Hutchison, Hawaii; John Borrowoman III, Houston; Cece Dubois, Nashville; Art Lynch, Nevada; Roy Costley, New Mexico; Virginia Hawkins, San Diego; Dick Arnold, Seattle; Russ McGinn, Utah; Jane Beard, Washington DC.