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Martha Greenhouse, SAG, AFTRA official, dies at 91

Actress served five terms as AFTRA New York Local president

Martha Greenhouse, who performed on Broadway, in film and on TV and served on SAG’s national board and as AFTRA’s New York Local prexy, died Jan. 5 in Manhattan after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was 91.

Greenhouse served five terms as AFTRA’s New York Local prexy and two terms on the Screen Actors Guild’s national board. More recently she served as an AFTRA Foundation Board member and was prexy of the AFTRA Heller Memorial Foundation for more than a decade. She was also an AFTRA rep to the Associated Actors and Artistes of America and served on the board of the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

“During her more than 40 years of board service, Martha helped lead the New York Local of AFTRA through turbulent times, and the union came out stronger due to her hard work, talent and dedication,” said SAG-AFTRA co-prexy Roberta Reardon. “Her service to the union should be held up as an example to everyone who will walk in her footsteps.”

Greenhouse’s acting credits include “Law & Order,” “The Jackie Gleason Show,” “The Stepford Wives,” Woody Allen’s “Bananas” and the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” Greenhouse also appeared in a number of plays on and Off Broadway such as “Summer Brave,” “Dear Me, the Sky Is Falling” and Jose Quintero’s “Our Town.”

Greenhouse remained active on the national and local AFTRA boards till 2005 and 2010, respectively, and received kudos for her efforts including the Founder’s Award, the N.Y. Local’s Ken Harvey Award and the George Heller Gold Card.

In the late ’70s, Greenhouse topped the N.Y. Caucus of Artists for Merger, which sought to combine SAG and AFTRA. She was instrumental in forming the SAG-AFTRA Joint Committee for Merger, which met throughout the 1980s.

Thesp joined AFTRA in 1941 and SAG in 1955.

Greenhouse is survived by a son and two grandsons.

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