Ken Howard was an amazing man that I was honored to call not only our president but my friend. One of the best things about getting to sit at his side at dozens of lengthy board and committee meetings over 7 years was being the beneficiary of his tension-relieving and truly hilarious, often self-deprecating observations and wit, whispered in my ear with a sly grin. He took his responsibility as president very seriously, but never himself too seriously. And he saw the connections in everything. He had a way of bridging divides that still seems almost magical to me. There has never been and will never be anyone quite like him.
-Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel
It is an honor and a privilege to work for the members of SAG-AFTRA. Because of Ken Howard, it was also a wry and witty master class in Shakespearean dialogue, musical blockbusters (complete with public singing), great poetry and literature. Like many actors, he loved words. It made for vibrant conversations about great books, plays, movies and music and an endless guessing game of memorable, but forgotten, lines of dialogue or poetry. He worked hard and he made it fun. You can’t ask for more than that. Rest in peace, Ken. You’ve earned your repose.
-Pamela Greenwalt, SAG-AFTRA Chief Communications & Marketing Officer
Ken Howard was the most dynamic force for our union in my experience! To say that he will be missed is gross understatement. It was Ken who, through his personality and ability to communicate with all members, whatever their attitudes, forged the long-needed merger of SAG and AFTRA. He made every member he came in contact with feel that they were important to the strength and solidarity of the union. He was much too young to pass away – especially when still very much needed at the helm, helping steer our union into the future. My interaction with him as a member of the Arizona SAG board left me greatly impressed with his vision and attention to the nitty-gritty needed to bring about merger. He will be sorely missed!
Ken Howard came and visited SAG Arizona before the merger, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him (with then-Arizona President Mark DeMichele). He was warm and welcoming, and gave such wonderful answers to the inquisitive Arizona State Uuniversity pre-members and local SAG members. He did great things for this union. He will be missed.
Ken Howard – what an honor to have known him. A wonderful, kind and generous man. He will be missed.
Ken Howard was an enthusiastic, intelligent, passionate, compassionate, imaginative and creative giant. He applied his whole being to all his endeavors. He will always be missed.
I enjoyed his spirit – the few times we did work together it was lovely. Thank you for your big heart and years of service, they are very much appreciated.
-Rae Dawn Chong
A man of vision, strength, integrity, immeasurable talent, and exceeding charm has been suddenly taken from us. Because he was who he was and the way he was, Ken Howard's death leaves us with a void in our hearts and our leadership. But because he was who he was and the way he was, he also left us, I am certain, with a strong, well-organized team to lead us on. In my position as a former Vice President for the Houston-Austin Local, I had opportunity for direct interaction with Mr. Howard. I found him to be an amazing man: very Presidential, very imposing, very forceful, very smart and very nice. I suspect I am not alone in those feelings. Before becoming a full time actor, I was a TV news reporter and anchor, and I had the opportunity to interview numerous politicians – including 5 US Presidents – movie stars, TV news icons, corporate leaders, authors, diplomats, astronauts, socialites, and union executives among my assignments. Ken Howard ranks among the top of the most impressive people I ever had the honor and privilege to meet. As a former army officer, I was also most impressed and grateful for his unwavering support for our military men and women. We have suffered a loss. The industry has suffered a loss. And most certainly, his family and dear friends have suffered a terrible loss. Condolences to all those closest to him, including staff. I am heartsick.
I met Ken at the opening of HBO's Grey Gardens at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and was honored to chat at length with him not only as my president, but as the actor who had played my grandfather. I was struck by his very down-to-earth character and warmth. We talked of my family's story, about which he still had great interest, and the excellent job Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange did portraying Little Edie and Big Edie. I have always respected Ken as a fine actor and terrific president, but will remember him as a considerate person and a true gentleman.
As a member of the Miami Local Board for 14 years, I was in a merger meeting with Ken Howard in Miami. We so appreciated his reaching out to the locals. I was honored to meet him and I had to bring up that we had the same last name, and we joked a bit. He will be missed.
I was so blessed to have worked with Ken in the series The White Shadow as an actor and to be directed by him in the play In the Moonlight Eddie. He created an environment on the set of The White Shadow and on stage for In the Moonlight Eddie that made it a joy to come to work each day.Ken was supportive, loving, funny and talented. My heart goes out to his wife and family.
I am saddened by the news of President Howard's death today. As a member of SAG-AFTRA, I am proud to be a member of the union that Mr. Howard helmed for years. He was an outstanding union leader. But he was an outstanding actor also. My earliest memories of Mr. Howard were as Thomas Jefferson in 1776, a play then film I have loved for over 45 years. He went on to bring dozens of memorable roles over his more than five decade career. Rest in Peace Mr. Howard. And a big thank you from a member. I never met you in person, but I feel I knew you all these years.
So sad to hear about the passing of Ken Howard. A true actor's actor and a remarkable leader. I'll never forget watching the live stream of his speech on the day of the SAG-AFTRA merger and how truly happy and proud he was. His passing is a huge loss to our community. Much love to his family and friends.
Thank you Ken Howard, for your devotion to The Screen Actors Guild and guiding it to the birth of SAG-AFTRA. Thank you Ken Howard, for the generous service you have given to this Union and as well as its members. Thank you Ken Howard, for letting the world share in your abundant talent in film and television. Thank you Ken Howard, for all of the rich, grace-filled performances on the Broadway Stage. Thank you life, for sharing Ken Howard with so many.
My fondest memory of Ken was the night merger passed and he jumped into Gabrielle's pool at an event. It was so spontaneous and exciting. I loved that about him. He really knew how to celebrate victory. He will be missed.
I was fortunate to become a member of SAG-AFTRA in 2014. It was not until I prepared to join that I realized the union President was the great Ken Howard. Though I recognized him from many television shows and films from his body of work, his most notable and cherished role in my eyes was that of Kabletown Executive Hank Hooper on 30 Rock. Hank's lovable attitude and infectious smile made that show even more enjoyable for me (which I didn't think was possible). I could only reasonably believe that Hank's humor and infectious smile were genuine and an indication of Mr. Howard's true personality. Additionally, Mr. Howard's portrayal of President Thomas Jefferson (along with the help of William Daniels, Blythe Danner, and the rest of the 1776 cast) helped make U.S. history enjoyable – not an easy feat when trying to educate a 7th grader through musical entertainment. Mr. Ken Howard will be sorely missed. I was touched by his work as an actor and felt secure as a member of SAG-AFTRA with him at the helm. I hope that in his honor, we can continue to show affection towards one another. And in the words of Kabletown Owner Hank Hooper, "Doesn't count as a hug unless it goes on for ten seconds." Show your love with a ten-second hug in memory of Ken Howard.
-Lauren L. Owen
This sweet man and great actor sat with me one night when we met during “'lunch” (around 9 p.m.) at CBS Radford Studios. We were working on a TV series episode. He was not yet the President of SAG – this was a couple of years before. We talked about plays and the theatre. He told me he was once shooting a film in Puerto Rico, and that the actors called him from the Hotel bar one night because he was on TV in an episode of The White Shadow, and that he was “speaking in Spanish.” So, he rushed downstairs to watch. He was very tall! Great presence. He had some great stories. And we did have one scene together, also with Polly Walker. I'm saddened because I always wanted to write a letter to him about other matters. And I never did. The president of SAG-AFTRA has passed away. A great man left us. May he R.I.P. SAG-AFTRA will be missing Mr. Howard, very, very much. God Bless him.
I remember watching The White Shadow as a kid – Ken Howard exuded a fatherly feeling, and as leader of our great union, I felt he took his responsibilities to heart in much the same way. We were not merely his constituents. He really cared about the actor's wellbeing. Rest in Peace, Coach.
You will be missed, Mr. Howard. I met you last year, and you were kind enough to sit and chat with me for some time. You didn’t talk about acting, you talked of your love of travel and places you had been. You recommended things to me and told me of your love for your family. Rest in Peace.