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Statement of SAG President Melissa Gilbert on the Passing of Former SAG President Howard Keel

Ronald Reagan and Howard Keel Los Angeles, CA (November 8, 2004) – Screen Actors Guild President Melissa Gilbert issued the following statement on the death of actor Howard Keel, who served as SAG president from 1958-1959:

“Howard Keel’s charisma, talent and grand baritone voice took him from the height of Hollywood musicals in the 1950s to the top of television in the 1980s. But his powerful presence also extended to Screen Actors Guild, where he served as a board member for 6 ½ years and president from 1958-1959. During his presidency, the Guild board went national as it increased from 39 to 52 seats. The move allowed branch representation for the first time in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Boston.

“He was a robust, imposing figure who felt obligated to fight for struggling actors’ compensation and work conditions. While his performances will endure forever, he leaves us with the lasting memory of a successful performer unselfishly giving back to his proud union and its grateful members. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”