Vowing to build unity and build strength, Ken Howard was elected the 25th president of Screen Actors Guild on September 24, 2009. Howard has been a working member of Screen Actors Guild for 40 years and inherits the mantle of Robert Montgomery, James Cagney, Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan in leading the nation’s most high-profile and storied actor’s union at a critical juncture for Screen Actors Guild members and the American labor movement.
Howard was elected to the Guild presidency by his fellow actors on a platform that called for charting a new course that makes the union stronger at the bargaining table by being united internally and working in partnership with other entertainment unions. As a National Board member and national chair of the Guild’s Senior Performers Committee, Howard worked with board members across the country to help get a TV/Theatrical contract negotiated and passed in 2009.
An actor’s actor, Howard has earned a formidable list of credits and several awards, including his second Emmy in 2009 for his role in HBO’s critically acclaimed Grey Gardens — just four days before winning the SAG presidential election.
He made his professional debut on Broadway in 1968 and since has performed in nearly 40 stage productions, seven of which were on Broadway, and more than 20 feature films. In television, he has starred in seven series, six mini-series, and 16 movies, in addition to making countless guest appearances. He helped create The White Shadow, a groundbreaking television series in which he starred from 1978 through 1982, and would go on to have recurring roles on shows such as Dynasty and Crossing Jordan. The veteran character actor also has portrayed several U.S. presidents in his career, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Warren G. Harding.
Howard spent three years in Cambridge, Mass., (1986-89) teaching at the American Repertory Theatre, Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He authored the book Act Natural, published by Random House in 2003.