The Gifts of Citizenship, Membership

Ken Howard, candidate for President of the Screen Actors Guild, is up for an Emmy for his role in “Grey Gardens.”

Ken Howard, candidate for President of the Screen Actors Guild, is up for an Emmy for his role in “Grey Gardens.”

I want to talk about a touching letter regarding Eunice Shriver, who touched all of us. And, just a touch of the local theatre that is such a gift.
It’s the time to hop on my soapbox to give my take on the upcoming SAG elections. It’s a great opportunity for stability to return to the Screen Actors Guild, my parent union for 54 years. (Yikes).

SAG Election

It’s more than just the members of the Screen Actors Guild who are counting on changes in SAG’s current leadership. The creative community is waiting for the moderation and reason that new SAG leadership will bring to the Unions, the associated business world and to Show Business in general. Let me say just two words. Ken Howard. Let me say them again. Ken Howard, Ken Howard, Ken Howard.
Unite for Strength announced Ken Howard as its candidate for Screen Actors Guild President. Ken is running with Amy Aquino as the Secretary-Treasurer. A current Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Grey Gardens” (playing Jessica Lange’s husband and Drew Barrymore’s father), Ken Howard’s career began on stage but has encompassed four decades of starring roles on television and regular feature film work. The Tony® and Emmy Award winning actor was elected on the Unite for Strength slate to SAG’s National Board in 2008 and currently chairs the National Seniors committee. Presidential candidate Howard says: “This election offers members a stark choice between two leadership approaches – attempt to go it alone or unite for strength.”
Unite for Strength will also field 33 candidates from the Hollywood Division for seats on the Board of Directors.
“Unite for Strength” is a diverse group of dedicated SAG members who understand that to fight effectively for our careers, we must be strategic and unified. New to SAG board service, they bring none of the factionalism that has damaged the Guild’s effectiveness. They offer instead their commitment to service and extensive personal experience of what it takes to make a living in this tough business. My votes!

Just A Few Minutes in the Life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver

This is from my best friend’s daughter Clara, mother of Dashiell, who has Autism, and a long-time worker with the homeless. She allowed me to share: “I was lucky enough to spend time with Eunice Shriver — she joined her son, Bobby Shriver, during an informal roundtable with homeless service providers in the dining room of his home. She said upfront that she was just there to listen, but it was amazing to watch her keep her son on track throughout, often with just a look. “People first,” she’d quietly remind her son, when he’d stray into political concerns. Sometimes, he’d stop and consider a topic, only to address Mrs. Shriver across the table, ‘Mom?’ Afterward, I had the opportunity to talk to her about my dear Dashiell and thank her for all she’s done for our kids. (Which, of course, is pretty much everything. Without Eunice Shriver, disabled children would likely still be excluded from public education, just for starters.)
She asked me so many questions about Dash, gave me the number of the local Special Olympics contact — which she knew from memory — and said several times that I shouldn’t hesitate to call her if I ever had any questions, or just wanted to talk. She held my hands in hers through the entire conversation.
The Kennedy legacy is as much hers as it is Jack’s, Bobby’s or Teddy’s. For me, she’s the true hero of the family. Rest in peace, Mrs. Shriver.”
And I hope that families, like Clara’s, can get some rest and peace considering the California budget cuts that instantly took away all opportunities for Dash and the other special needs children. Not right.
We’ll talk.