Howard Keel

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Howard Keel

Howard KeelHoward Keel's roles and magnificent singing were enjoyed by millions of movie-goers before he accepted the Guild Presidency in 1958 (and long before his run on the hit TV series "Dallas" in the 1980's). His voice and charismatic presence were put to fine use on the stage in Carousel, Oklahoma, South Pacific and such musical films as Annie Get Your Gun (1950) with Betty Hutton, Calamity Jane (1953) playing Wild Bill Hickok, 1953: Kiss Me, Kate with Kathryn Grayson Show Boat (1951) and Kiss Me Kate (1953) - both with Kathryn Grayson, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) with Jane Powell. His last name was originally "Leek" which, spelled backwards, is "Keel." His Board service began in November 1955. He was then elected to one-year terms as 3rd VP in 1956, 1st VP in 1957, President in 1958, and 1st VP again in 1959. Under his presidency, the Guild Board was increased from 39 to 52 seats-allowing for branch representation for the first time - from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, and Boston. 1958: as new SAG president He was also a member of the Guild's Merger Study Committee, which met with AFTRA to discuss the possibility of merging the two unions. Keel decided not to run again for president in November, 1959, largely because he had been signed to a starring role on Broadway in the musical Saratoga, based on Edna Ferber's novel. And with the tough theatrical negotiations of 1960 fast-approaching, the Guild could certainly not afford to have its president performing every night 3,000 miles away for months. 1958: at SAG Annual Meeting (with former SAG pres. Leon Ames) The 1960 negotiations would bring to a head the long-delayed issue of paying residuals to performers in theatrical films sold to television since 1948. So Board member Ronald Reagan, former Guild president, accepted the nomination and would be elected to the Guild presidency for the final time. Keel would be elected 1st Vice-President in '59, and serve on the Board until he resigned in April of 1962. Howard Keel died Sunday, November 7, 2004 at the age of 85.