I'm so sad to learn of our President's passing – my thoughts and prayers are with his family and the legion of friends and admirers he had. I met Ken at a SAG-AFTRA New York open house, maybe two years ago. We had exchanged pleasantries and then he sat on the arm of a sofa, clearly a little tired from a full day of all of “us.” He and I were more or less alone at this point, and I was about to leave him to be able to get a second wind when he began to tell me a very personal story of he and his father. I was so moved, listening to both the story and the storyteller. He caught himself, maybe realizing how much he had just shared with a total stranger, shook his head, looked me in the eye with a little sadness and said a few kind words that I will remember. I will keep those words and his story safely to myself. A wonderful memory I have. Big man, big heart, great leader. He will be missed.
I was the oldest apprentice in 1976 at Williamstown Theatre Festival where Ken was playing “Vershinin" with Blythe Danner as “Masha," Austin Pendleton as “Tusenbach,” Lauire Kennedy as “Irina” and Olympia Dukakis. I was lucky enough to be cast as one singing Russian strolling by. With this brilliant cast, there was little room for any attention to be paid to any “extra.” Ken was the only cast member who introduced himself. He invited me to dinner knowing that apprentices were working hard throughout the night, building sets, sleeping little and eating poorly. I never forgot that act of kindness and the model he set for treating everyone with similar respect. I am sad to learn of his passing.
I didn't get to work as closely with Ken as I have some past presidents, but I must say he was always a gentleman and always sincere in his attempts to attack problems and to make conditions better for all performers. He stood up bravely and strongly in the face of enormous pressure and turmoil as two massive organizations like the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists struggled, and still struggle to become one. His intelligence and caring leadership will be missed. I thank him for his service.
Ken really brought our union back to its purpose. So many great steps forward were made under his leadership. A fine person, a wonderful actor and a true leader. He will be greatly missed.
When I was a young actress who had recently moved to L.A. in the late ‘70s, I was working as a waitress at a little Italian restaurant near where The White Shadow was shot. One day, Ken Howard walked in and sat in my station. I walked over and gasped out "Thomas Jefferson!" (I was a big musical theatre geek and 1776 was one of my favorites.) He laughed, and asked me to sit and talk with him when I had time. After that, whenever he came in he would ask to sit wherever I was working, and would stay and talk with me as long as he could. What a sweet and talented man. He will be missed.
Ken was a giant of a man, not only in stature but as an actor of over 100 films and TV work. I was happy to hear that Ken became president of the Screen Actors Guild, now SAG-AFTRA. Ken will be missed by many.
I just wanted to give my condolences and share how much I admired Ken Howard's work in Grey Gardens. My condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. In fond memory, admiration and respect for the legacy of work he has left for us.
-Robin Michelle McClamb
I had the honor of hanging with Ken and his beautiful wife Linda at a fundraiser for the Boston Film Bureau about 12 years ago. He was the most gracious man I have ever met. He greeted all of our supporters with warmth, humor and love. But what struck me the most was when I drove them back to their hotel, after our event at the science museum. He and Linda asked about me. I told them I had a special needs daughter. They pressed the issue, wanting to know more. I told them she adored Miley Cyrus. Turns out, they were very dear friends of Miley’s family. They went out of their way to get my daughter a photo, signed to her, by Miley. I never could repay them for that unbelievable gesture.
It is a great loss loosing Ken Howard. An upstanding person, a good actor and an invaluable asset to Screen Actors Guild, which through his leadership became SAG-AFTRA. He will be greatly missed. I wish his family peace.
I had a chance to spend some time with Ken on the set of The Judge. He was always friendly and quick to share a story. He treated all he met as a fellow colleague. Though I only worked with him a few weeks, the news of his death impacted me as the loss of a friend. Great guy, great actor, great union man. My heart goes out to Linda, his family, fellow SAG-AFTRA members, and what I'm sure is a very considerable number of friends feeling the weight of this loss. I also remember seeing Ken's uncanny performance as Tip O'Neill in Boston. Tip's family said it was like seeing Tip himself. Ken was spot on – amazing. I also loved him as Hank Hooper on 30 Rock. I'm so glad I had a chance to tell him how much I loved his performances. He was so approachable, I didn't even feel my usual awkwardness when gushing.