Treasurer of the Guild from 1948 through November 1959, Chandler was the first Guild president whose long film and television career consisted almost exclusively of supporting roles and bits: reporters, delivery men, taxi drivers. He began in vaudeville as a teenager in 1915, billing himself as "The Musical Nut" and, by 1928 was appearing in films. He became a favorite of WWI aviator-turned movie director, William Wellman (director of Wings, The Public Enemy, Nothing Sacred, Beau Geste, The Ox-Bow Incident, etc.). Between 1937 and 1951, Chandler worked on over 20 of Wellman's films. In 1942, Wellman gave him a good part as Ginger Rogers' husband in Roxie Hart. In the late 1950's Chandler played Uncle Petrie in the TV series Lassie, with Jon Provost. While Guild president, he also played Ichabod Adams in the 1961/62 TV series Ichabod and Me.
At a special Board meeting, June 9, 1960, Chandler was nominated by Conrad Nagel to finish Ronald Reagan's term, when Reagan resigned the Guild Presidency. Against a field of several candidates, the Board voted Chandler president. He would be elected by the Guild membership in November, 1960, for his first of three one-year terms. A merger plan between the Guild and AFTRA was voted down early in Chandler's presidency by 82% of the voting membership, but an alternative "positive cooperative action between the Guild and AFTRA, including joint negotiations and administration in the fields of TV commercials and taped TV entertainment" was approved by 92%. Runaway Production was high on the list of challenges during Chandler's presidency, as was racial discrimination. In 1963, Chandler announced that signatory producers had to agree to incorporate non-discriminatory language into Guild contracts, to "...make every effort to cast performers belonging to all [racial] groups in all types of roles, having due regard for the requirements of and suitability for the role, so that, for example, the American Scene may be portrayed realistically."