We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ken Howard. Anyone who ever met Ken knew of his devotion to acting and to his fellow actors. Even as he achieved success in his own acting career, he never lost sight of the need to advocate for working actors. At the bargaining table, Ken spoke sparingly, but eloquently and intelligently, in support of improvements in working conditions for actors. It was no surprise that Ken became the leader of the movement to unite SAG and AFTRA, something that had twice been attempted — and twice failed — before he became president of the Screen Actors Guild. It took someone with his forceful personality, considerable intelligence and immutable commitment to the betterment of working actors, broadcasters and recording artists to unite them in a single union. This, together with his remarkable portrayals of characters onstage and screen, will become his enduring legacy — one fitting for such a remarkable man. We will miss him greatly.
- Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
Ken was the nicest man you would ever want to meet and for me, he will always be Thomas Jefferson in the film 1776. I shared that film every year in my US History & Government class. Labor lost a great leader, America lost a great actor and the world has lost a true gentleman.
-Paul Ellis-Graham, President, Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Ken Howard, president of our sister guild SAG-AFTRA. Ken was an industry leader whose passion was channeled in his selfless work to protect the rights of performers. His strong leadership of SAG-AFTRA through the merger was an inspiration to our industry. Above all, Ken was a man of integrity, honor and unmatched spirit. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife, Linda, his friends and the entire SAG-AFTRA family at this difficult time.
-Paris Barclay, President, Directors Guild of America
It was with great sadness that I learned of Ken Howard’s passing today. He was a tireless advocate for social justice, for his union and for its members. It is a fitting tribute to his commitment to improving the lives of actors, broadcasters and recording artists that he was the first president of the united SAG-AFTRA. He will be missed as a leader and as a bright light in the creative community. On behalf of the WGAW I would like to send our condolences to his family, his friends and all those whose lives he touched throughout his long and exemplary career.
-Howard Rodman, President, Writers Guild of America, West
Ken Howard was unfailingly attentive and engaged. His legacy is embedded in the merger of SAG-AFTRA and brilliant television shows from The White Shadow to 30 Rock. We send our condolences to his family and friends.
-Lowell Peterson, Executive Director, Writers Guild of America, East
Ken's tireless work on behalf of the SAG-AFTRA membership was exceeded only by his grace and genuine caring for both his fellow actors and those of us lucky enough to cross paths with him either professionally or personally. His commitment to the well-being of his union and his unwavering support of other industry unions was unparalleled. He leaves a legacy of compassion, tenacity and generosity of spirit that will be greatly missed and impossible to duplicate, and his passing is a huge loss for our industry, the labor community and the world at large.
-Steven Poster, ASC President
It is with a heavy heart and sad feelings that we are writing this letter on behalf of our organization to convey our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Ken Howard. Ken Howard was a great person and truly a dedicated professional, whose legacy will endure and from whom we have much to learn. Not only will he be remembered as a great actor, but also as the man who led the historical merger between SAG and AFTRA for the benefit of thousands of actors worldwide. It was under Howard’s presidency that SAG-AFTRA and AISGE built their strong partnership and friendship, of which we are most proud. And it was also under his presidency that all actors’ organizations around the globe fought together for the successful adoption of the Beijing Treaty, granting actors from all over the globe moral and economic rights on their audiovisual performances. All the actors in the world will be forever in debt with Ken Howard, a remarkable man who made the difference in the lives of so many colleagues. Quoting George Clooney, “Howard’s obituary read that he was six foot six, but he was so much taller than that.”
-Pilar Bardem, Chairwoman and Abel Martín, Director General, Artistas Intérpretes Sociedad de Gestión
It is with sadness that the members of ACTRA Toronto hear of the passing of our friend in the labor movement and in the entertainment business, Ken Howard. Ken was an excellent, talented performer and a strong voice for unions in the Arts and precarious workers in the creative sector. His passion to defend the rights of his fellow performers stands as an example to those who will carry on this work. His efforts to unite performers and to respond to changing technologies will bear fruit for years to come. Thank you, Ken.
-David Sparrow, President, ACTRA Toronto
On behalf of the staff and elected officials of SFA, the French performers' union, we wish to extend our deepest sympathy to all of you, with whom he worked and with whom we work. We know that his contribution to the development of the strong, merged union and the well-being of U.S. performers will be remembered, and that his hearty presence will be missed. We of the SFA were always delighted to meet him in our FIA meetings, and are especially happy to have been able to welcome him to Paris, a city he already seemed to know quite well, on the occasion of the executive committee meeting in 2014. Ken was a wonderful actor, and his work will obviously live on. We’ll celebrate his memory by listening to the original LP of 1776.
-Catherine Almeras, Denys Fouqueray and Jimmy Shuman, Délégation générale, Syndicat français des artistes interprètes
It was a real pleasure to have known Ken. It was so wonderful to have him in Dublin last June for our World Live Performance Conference. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends.
-Pádraig Murray, President, Irish Equity
On behalf of SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union we would like to express our sincere condolences to Ken Howard’s family for their loss. We also want to express sadness for the loss to SAG-AFTRA. His devotion and service to SAG-AFTRA Union members, and really anyone he met, will be remembered always!
-Roger Runyan, President/CEO, SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union
The American Friends of Yitzhak Rabin (AFYR) is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Ken Howard, SAG-AFTRA President and 2015 Yitzhak Rabin Legacy Award recipient. AFYR had the honor of recognizing Howard at a gala dinner in Los Angeles on July 9, 2015. At the event, Howard received the Yitzhak Rabin Legacy Award for achieving the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA, succeeding where two previous attempts had fallen short. Howard was also acknowledged for his dedication to fostering young artists and encouraging creativity in young people to help them jumpstart their careers in the entertainment and media industry. Following the dinner, Ken Howard joined previous Rabin award recipients as a member of AFYR’s Labor Advisory Board. Howard enjoyed an illustrious acting career, which included a role on the 1970s CBS drama The White Shadow and a role on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Howard won a supporting actor Emmy Award in 2009 for portraying Phelan Beale (the uncle of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) in the HBO telefilm Grey Gardens. He was also elected President of SAG-AFTRA that same year. The Board and Staff of AFYR express their sincere condolences to Howard’s family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time. He will be greatly missed.
-The American Friends of Yitzhak Rabin