Character actor Ken Howard was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild on Thursday, the union said, four days after he won an Emmy for the HBO TV movie Grey Gardens.
Howard, representing a moderate faction in the bitterly divided union, won 47 percent of the vote in a poll to replace Alan Rosenberg, who did not seek a third two-year term.
Rosenberg belongs to a hardline faction that unsuccessfully opposed a new employment contract with the studios earlier this year. He backed Anne-Marie Johnson, who won 33 percent of the vote for the unpaid post.
Howard, 65, has proposed closer ties with the smaller Hollywood union AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) in order to give actors more clout at the bargaining table. SAG members narrowly scuttled a merger in 2003, when Melissa Gilbert led the union.
Despite the sharp differences that those of us active in guild affairs sometimes have over strategy and tactics, we need to continually remind ourselves that we're all on the same team, fighting for the same thing -- and by pulling together, we'll only grow stronger, Howard said in a statement.
Howard was honored on Sunday for his supporting role as Phelan Beale, ex-husband of Big Edie Beale in Grey Gardens, a project based on the documentary about a pair of eccentric socialites who lived in squalor.
In other races on the ballot, moderates tightened their overall control of the union by winning more seats on SAG's 71-member national board.