Showbizreporting's Blog

December 26, 2009

Christmas Caroling at the Motion Picture Home

Dear Friends –

Our SAG friends showed up in force to serenade the residents and caregivers at the Motion Picture Home last night, Christmas, 2009.

I’d like to thank Bill Smitrovich for his dedication and organizational skills. Smitty, you pulled this one off and I believe the smiles we received from the residents were payment in full for a night of fun, love and showmanship.

Please log onto our Saving the Lives of Our Own facebook page to see the great photos. If anyone has photos of the group that serenaded Harry’s Haven, please add. As a matter of fact, please add any of your photos.

We will be there again this time next year. I don’t have to remind you that the facility was to be closed down on October 20. Our victory is only a small and fleeting one. They still have plans to close.

Nothing has changed.

We have not won anything but a ‘stay of execution’. The good news is that their ranks are splintering, and many who were initially opposed to our efforts will probably be ‘jumping in for the big win’ (see Full Metal Jacket for the rest of that quote).

Have a great holiday. Thanks for saving lives. We will not back down.

Instead, we will ramp up the heat until the Long Term Care facility meets the motto of “Taking Care of Our Own” once again.




September 11, 2009

SAG P & H Plans

Fellow SAG Members,

You’ve just received the latest edition of TAKE 2, the newsletter of SAG’s Pension and Health Plans, and like me, you were probably troubled by what you read:

“According to federal guidelines established by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, the [Pension] Plan is in the orange zone and considered to be seriously endangered.”

“So far this year, contributions generated from employment-based earnings are down 10%. This represents the largest drop in plan history and does not account for the full impact of the decrease in SAG-covered television pilots, which has yet to be realized.”

You also read that starting January 1st, our Health Insurance premiums are going up: 66% higher for Plan One, 50% higher for Plan Two, and 92% higher for Plan Two “age & service” coverage. And for the first time in the Plan’s history, all Senior Performers will now have to pay monthly premiums.

The funding decline of our Pension Plan means that corrective action must be taken, or “the Pension Plan could enter the red zone, (the most critical status under the PPA) and risk a funding deficiency under federal law, which would require even stronger action to correct.” As a result, effective Jan. 1, 2010, the pension accrual rate will be lowered from 3.5% to 2.0%, a drop of 42%.

This is very serious news, but it’s equally important to point out that these reductions do not apply to any pension you are currently receiving, or any benefits you have already accrued. By taking action now, the Plans will preserve their ability to pay those promised benefits.

However, as the Plan Trustees noted in their newsletter, the outlook for future benefits is less secure.

Investment losses hurt benefit plans across the country last year, including SAG’s – even though the Guild’s plans fared better than most in that regard. But earnings-based contributions have suffered their worst drop ever, and this does not reflect the future effects of SAG covering only 10% of the 2009 TV pilots. The cost of the decision last year to fight with AFTRA rather than partner with them on our biggest contract negotiation has already been deeply felt, but it hasn’t been fully realized yet.

I support my family as an actor and I couldn’t do it without solid health insurance and the expectation of a secure pension when I retire. Many of you are in the same boat… but even if you’re not, we all understand just how crucial those benefits are.

Will we go back to fighting with AFTRA and further endanger our benefit plans? Or will we unite with AFTRA to increase our bargaining power and strengthen the security of our health and pension benefits? This election will determine our course.

It’s clearer than ever that we cannot go back to the go-it-alone approach. That’s why I’m asking you to vote for Ken Howard, Amy Aquino and me, along with all the other UFS board candidates. And please spread this message to every SAG member you know. It has never been more important to make sure that all your friends and colleagues vote.


Ned Vaughn

For more information about our candidates and to see all the UFS videos, please visit


President – KEN HOWARD
Secretary-Treasurer – AMY AQUINO

Board of Directors – Please vote for ALL 33 board candidates below. DO NOT vote for more than 33 board candidates or your ballot will not be counted.

1 – Michelle Allsopp
6 – Patrick Fabian
9 – Jason George
10 – Dawnn Lewis
11 – Woody Schultz
12 – Michael O’Keefe
14 – Clark Gregg
19 – David Lawrence
20 – Amir Talai
21 – Doug Savant
22 – Dule Hill
23 – Clyde Kusatsu
25 – Tim DeKay
28 – Assaf Cohen
34 – Scotty Caldwell
35 – D.W. Moffett
39 – Mandy Steckelberg
40 – Richard Speight, Jr.
43 – Jenny O’Hara
52 – Gabrielle Carteris
55 – Hill Harper
57 – Bill Smitrovich
58 – Bob Bergen
59 – Ned Vaughn
60 – Nancy Travis
62 – Gregory Itzin
64 – Ellen Crawford
67 – Stacey Travis
73 – Christian Clemenson
74 – Conrad Palmisano
75 – Richard Fancy
81 – Marcia Wallace
82 – John Carroll Lynch

August 29, 2009

SAG Canadates – Hollywood

Dear SAG Colleague,
The SAG elections are now upon us, and below are my endorsements for President, Secretary-Treasurer, and fellow SAG colleagues who are running in Hollywood. After years of infighting and the union’s rapid and reckless deterioration into ineffectiveness, with elected leaders suing their own union, disparaging our sister union AFTRA, and the inability (or unwillingness) to negotiate important industry contracts and costing us millions of dollars, we now have the ability to vote people in who will work for ALL OF US, for solidarity and strength, now and in the immediate future.

I am urging you to vote for these fine people who will be devoting massive amounts of their time, away from their individual careers, to work for us and to fight for us, for our protections and our place in this industry. The people listed below, that I endorse 100%, believe in The Screen Actors Guild and everything the union stands for. Feel free to pass this list to your Hollywood friends who are voting this election.

Use this list below as you check your choices on the Hollywood ballot. Please be invovled. Please VOTE!

Here’s to a brighter SAG future, and in solidarity,
Mark Redfield



IN HOLLYWOOD (remember, you may vote for no more than 33 candidates–please consider these candidates listed below)
01. Michelle Allsopp
06. Patrick Fabian
09. Jason George
10. Dawnn Lewis
11. Woody Schultz
12. Michael O’Keefe
19. David H. Lawrence XVII
20. Amir Talai
21. Doug Savant
22. Dule Hill
23. Clyde Kusatsu
25. Tim DeKay
28. Assaf Cohen
34. L. Scott Caldwell
35. D.W. Moffett
39. Mandy Steckelberg
40. Richard Peight, Jr.
43. Jenny O’Hara
52. Gabrielle Carteris
55. Hill Harper
57. Bill Smitrovich
58. Bob Bergen
59. Ned Vaughn
60. Nancy Travis
62. Gregory Itzin
64. Ellen Crawford
67. Stacey Travis
73. Christian Clemenson
74. Conrad E. Palmisano
75. Richard Fancy
81. Marcia Wallace
82. John Carroll Lynch

July 29, 2009

Unite for Strength Members

Last year’s SAG election was important, but the upcoming SAG election means everything to your future as a professional performer. Not only will seats on the Hollywood and National Boards be at stake, but members will also elect SAG’s next President and Secretary-Treasurer. Most important, this election will decide a fundamental question for the future: will SAG go it alone – costing us more jurisdiction and further weakening us at the bargaining table – or will we unite for strength?

Fighting with other unions has gotten SAG nowhere and cost Guild members dearly. Ken Howard, Amy Aquino, and all the UFS board candidates understand that professional performers must have the smartest, strongest union representation possible – and the only way to get it is by working in cooperation with our labor partners. That’s what Unite for Strength is all about.

This national election will be hotly contested and we must get our message to the Guild’s 120,000 members. We can’t do that without your financial support. We need your donations to win.

Come join UFS for a night of celebration, food, drink, education, and good old-fashioned fundraising THIS Thursday, July 30th at 7:30pm.

It’s a great opportunity to meet those who have been working so hard for you since our first election victory, as well as the new candidates on our 2009 slate. We’ll be laughing, singing, dancing, and talking about the issues – and raising money to ensure that a powerful, united front representing all professional performers is the future for the Screen Actors Guild.

Please call a few friends and RSVP by sending an email to right away!
(Location will be provided upon receipt of RSVP)
And if you can’t make it, please make a donation through our website:

UFS National Board Members –
Adam Arkin, Amy Brenneman, Ken Howard, Pamela Reed, Kate Walsh

UFS 2009 Candidates –
President: Ken Howard
Secretary-Treasurer: Amy Aquino

National/Hollywood Board –
Michelle Allsopp, Bob Bergen, Scotty Caldwell, Gabrielle Carteris, Christian Clemenson, Assaf Cohen, Ellen Crawford, Tim DeKay, Patrick Fabian, Richard Fancy, Jason George, Clark Gregg, Hill Harper, Dule Hill, Gregory Itzin, Clyde Kusatsu, David Lawrence, Dawnn Lewis, John Carroll Lynch, D.W. Moffett, Jenny O’Hara, Michael O’Keefe, Conrad Palmisano, Doug Savant, Woody Schultz, Bill Smitrovich, Richard Speight, Mandy Steckelberg, Amir Talai, Nancy Travis, Stacey Travis, Ned Vaughn, Marcia Wallace

July 26, 2009

Thanks from STMPH

Thanks to the efforts of President Alan Rosenberg and spear-headed by First Vice President and Madame Chair Anne-Marie Johnson, with support from SAG Board Members Elliott Gould and SAG Senior Performer’s Committee member Bill Smitrovich, and SAG Senior Committee / SAG Healthcare Safety Net Committee, the Screen Actor’s Guild National Board has voted to support Saving The Lives Of Our Own in their mission to keep long term care open now and for the future, and to restore motion picture and television fund’s commitment of “Taking Care of Our Own”, adding their muscle in stopping the closure of the MPTF Long Term Care facility, and the eviction of the elderly residents who helped build the motion picture and television industry.

Led by SAG actor and Saving the Lives of Our Own activist Daniel Quinn, whose compelling presentation to the National Board eclipsed that of Ken Scherer of the MPTF Foundation – the promise of the continuum of care that was founded by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith will be a continued tradition for decades to come. With Daniel on the dais was Saving the Lives of Our Own activist Nancy Biederman and legal counsel James O’Callahan from Girardi and Keese.

As the reasons for the turmoil within the MPTF leading to the evictions start to see the light of day, it is evident that the days are numbered for those in the heirarchy of MPTF management.

SAG has spoken, and their will and determination bolsters
and strengthens the resolve of the residents and their families to keep the LTC doors open.

More to come on this huge win for motion picture and television industry healthcare, and the elderly and infirm who are yet to be displaced.

Additonal thank you’s to Diane Ladd, Alan Ruck, Esai Morales, Francis Fisher,
Nancy Sinatra, Connie Stevens, and Michele Santopietro among others.

The pioneering efforts of John Schneider and David Carradine will not be forgotten.

This will be a historical win, and we want you on the winning side. If you haven’t already, please register at Please invite your friends to join this extremely effective facebook group.

Yours in fighting for the future of motion picture and television industry healthcare – and the rights of the elderly residents of the Motion Picture Home,

Richard Stellar

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