LOS ANGELES (June 19, 2010) – Screen Actors Guild Hollywood Division today honored Gloria Stuart and Paul Napier with the prestigious Ralph Morgan Award, the highest service award given by the Hollywood Division. The honor was bestowed as part of the Annual Hollywood Division Membership Meeting at the Sportsmen’s Lodge.
Gloria Stuart was among the first members to join Screen Actors Guild in 1933, becoming member No. 873 and subsequently serving for several years on the National Board. She is the sole surviving board member from the 1930s. Paul Napier has served Screen Actors Guild through continuous service on the board of directors or one of its committees since 1979, and this past spring, chaired the Los Angeles representatives in the successful negotiation of the Commercials Contract. This represents an extraordinary 26 times that he has been a member of a negotiating committee of national contracts. Both Stuart and Napier have generously given their time and expertise in service to the Guild’s membership and all actors.
Stuart, who turns 100 on July 4, is best known for her performances in The Invisible Man, Poor Little Rich Girl, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Titanic. In 1937 she began her service as a board member. She was appointed as one of six to work out a coordinating program with the Junior Council (representing background talent) and was re-elected to a three-year term on the board. In 1976, Stuart was issued a Screen Actors Guild Life Membership. In 1998, she was awarded a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as Rose in Titanic, for which she received a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination as well.
"We are especially privileged this year to honor Gloria Stuart as a Ralph Morgan Award recipient,” said SAG President Ken Howard. “ Ms. Stuart’s early service to the Guild lay the groundwork for SAG to become one of the most powerful and respected labor unions today.”
Napier is one of the founding members and continuing producers of the annual, nationally televised Screen Actors Guild Awards show. He began his career 40 years ago as the announcer for the then-new Rochester Americans professional hockey team. After moving to Los Angeles, he originated the Mr. Goodwrench character for General Motors’ commercial campaign. Among his more than 400 commercial credits are his recent appearances for Washington Mutual.
"For more than three decades, the Screen Actors Guild has benefitted immeasurably from the time and talents of Paul Napier," said Howard. "I commend his tremendous dedication and thank him for his extraordinary contributions to the Guild."
“I am honored to join my colleagues in expressing our sincere gratitude to Gloria Stuart and Paul Napier,” said SAG National Board Member Pamela Reed, co-chair of the SAG National Honors and Tributes Committee. “Hollywood members and the membership at-large have benefitted tremendously from their years of service to the Guild.”
The Ralph Morgan Award is named after SAG’s first president, who led the fight to establish a union for screen actors in 1933. It is given periodically for distinguished service to the Guild’s Hollywood membership. Among the previous recipients of the Ralph Morgan Award are past SAG presidents Ed Asner, Dennis Weaver, William Schallert and Kathleen Nolan, as well as other distinguished officers and members.