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Actor and SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard dies at 71

By Karen Butler   |   March 23, 2016 at 5:51 PM
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LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) -- Tony- and Emmy-winning actor Ken Howard, star of the TV show White Shadow and the president of the performers union SAG-AFTRA, died Wednesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 71.

The Yale School of Drama-trained actor's career spanned nearly 50 years. He made his Broadway debut in the 1968 production of Neil Simon's Promises, Promises. Other appearances on the Great White Way included 1776, Child's Play, Seesaw, The Norman Conquests, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and According to Tip.

Among his film credits are Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, 1776, Clear and Present Danger, At First Sight, Rambo IV, Dreamer, In Her Shoes, Michael Clayton, J. Edgar, Better Living Through Chemistry, The Judge, The Wedding Ringer and Joy.

Howard was also a prolific television actor, appearing in the series The Manhunter, Crossing Jordan, The Colbys and Dynasty, the miniseries The Thorn Birds, Rage of Angels and Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, and the TV movie Grey Gardens.

Howard served on the board of directors of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the Actors Fund, the Los Angeles Alzheimer's Committee, and was the national spokesman and an executive board member for the Onyx and Breezy Foundation for the Welfare of Animals.

As a kidney transplant recipient, he was grateful to his transplant donor, family friend and well-known stuntwoman Jeannie Epper, SAG-AFTRA emphasized in a press release. He also served as chancellor of the National Kidney Foundation and worked to encourage organ donation.

SAG-AFTRA described Howard "as a hardworking actor, a wry and witty observer, and a fierce union leader."

"Above all, Howard will be remembered for strengthening the working lives of the actors, broadcasters and recording artists to whom he devoted his time and effort as union president, and in whom he recognized the same passion for performing and service that ultimately defined his own life and work," the organization said.

Howard is survived by his wife of 25 years -- Linda Fetters Howard, a prominent stuntwoman and former president of the Stuntwomen's Association of Motion Pictures; and three adult stepchildren from a previous marriage.

In lieu of flowers, remembrance contributions may be made to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the Onyx and Breezy Foundation for the Welfare of Animals.

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