Rosenberg squeaks past Cassel for SAG presidency
EmptyAlan Rosenberg has snatched a second two-year term as SAG president, with fellow character actor Seymour Cassel settling for a return to the guild's board after the incumbent bested his chief rival by a scant margin of 710 votes.
In vote results announced Thursday night, Rosenberg fetched 11,631 votes to Cassel's 10,921. Rosenberg garnered 47% support from among a total 24,834 ballots cast.
The battle for SAG president was largely a tussle between Rosenberg and Cassel, both associated with the guild's MembershipFirst faction in Hollywood. The candidates tangled less over policy or priorities than their personal styles and backgrounds.
In August, Rosenberg said Cassel should not have claimed that he was a "New York actor" in campaign literature sent to prospective SAG voters in the Big Apple.
"Seymour consistently and regularly has derided actors who live anywhere but in L.A.," Rosenberg told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "So it was a little bit disingenuous of him."
Then there was the blogosphere battle over which of the two had the more volatile personality, with backers and critics of each rehashing stories of various political fracases over the years.
Both Rosenberg and Cassel have worked in film, TV and stage productions and boast substantial East Coast professional credits. Rosenberg is a native of Passaic, N.J., Cassel was born in Detroit, and both live in Los Angeles.
"I'm really gratified that the members have chosen to allow me to continue the work I'm doing on behalf of the guild (and) I promise to continue to fight like hell for them," Rosenberg told The Hollywood Reporter after the results were announced at about 9:30 p.m. "I also want to congratulate (the other candidates) for a hard-fought campaign, and I hope we can all work together on behalf of the members."
Rosenberg was informed of the results just as he prepared to board a flight to Washington, where he is scheduled to attend a meeting of the AFL-CIO executive council todayFriday. One item on the agenda is a request by AFTRA to affiliate directly with AFL-CIO, a move frowned upon by SAG officials.
In a related situation, both Rosenberg and Cassel said they support a recent move by the SAG national board to institute "bloc voting" on negotiating issues in the next round of film and TV talks. The concept is opposed by SAG's negotiating partner AFTRA as well as some New York-based SAG directors.
If employed during the 2008 negotiations, bloc voting would mean SAG members on the negotiating committee first voting among themselves and then registering unanimous votes in joint voting with AFTRA members of the committee. AFTRA claims that the practice would run counter to a long-standing agreement between the parties and throw their negotiating relationship into jeopardy.
Elsewhere among the candidates for SAG president, background actor Barry Simmonds (1,353 votes) pressed the priorities of film and TV extras in an e-mail-driven campaign. And Charley M. De La Pena (681 votes) primarily was identified with his efforts on behalf of disabled actors.
SAG's outgoing New York president, Paul Christie, who also is national 2nd vp of the guild, endorsed Rosenberg's re-election. Both of the top candidates also distributed materials touting endorsements from various well-known actors.
Two years ago, Rosenberg defeated Robert Conrad and Morgan Fairchild to win his first term as president. He ran as part of a MembershipFirst slate, which also endorsed Rosenberg's re-election as president as well as Cassel's retention to the national board.
Incumbent secretary-treasurer Connie Stevens, who endorsed Rosenberg, was re-elected without opposition.
In local board races, Cassel topped all Hollywood division candidates with 8,069 votes, assuring him a new three-year term on both the SAG national and local boards. Among others landing both national and Hollywood seats were Valerie Harper (7,592), Frances Fisher (6,990), Esai Morales (6,675), Kent McCord (6,410), Nancy Sinatra (6,246) and Bonnie Bartlett (5,841).
Sam Freed won the race for New York division president with 3,258 votes, gaining a two-year-term with 69% of 5,060 ballots.
Maureen Donnelly was the top vote-getter among New York board candidates with 3,447 candidates, followed by Nancy Giles (3,420) and Richard Masur (3,397). All were also be among those from the division getting national board seats.
SAG posted complete lists of the various races on SAG.org.