|1st National President of the SAG-AFTRA|
March 30, 2012 – March 23, 2016
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Gabrielle Carteris|
|28th President of the Screen Actors Guild|
September 24, 2009 – March 30, 2012
|Preceded by||Alan Rosenberg|
as President of SAG-AFTRA
Kenneth Joseph Howard Jr.
March 28, 1944
El Centro, California, U.S.
|Died||March 23, 2016 (aged 71)|
Valencia, California, U.S.
|Education||Amherst College (BA) (1966)|
Kent State University (MFA) (1999)
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, politician|
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play|
1970: Child's Play
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming
1981: The Body Human
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2009: Grey Gardens
Kenneth Joseph Howard Jr. (March 28, 1944 – March 23, 2016) was an American actor. He was known for his roles as Thomas Jefferson in 1776 and as high school basketball coach and former Chicago Bulls player Ken Reeves in the television show The White Shadow (1978–1981). Howard won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1970 for his performance in Child's Play, and later won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his work in Grey Gardens (2009).
Howard was elected president of the actors' union, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), in September 2009 and reelected to a second term, in September 2011. He was the last president of the Screen Actors Guild and the first president of the newly combined SAG-AFTRA union, after the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) voted to merge in 2012. He was reelected in 2015.
Howard was born on March 28, 1944, in El Centro, California, the son of Martha Carey (née McDonald) and Kenneth Joseph Howard, a stockbroker, being the elder of their two sons. His younger brother, the late Don Howard, was also an actor and director. His approximately 6-foot 6-inch (1.98 m) stature earned him the nickname "Stork" as a high school student. He grew up in Manhasset, New York, on Long Island.
The nickname "The White Shadow" was given to him by the Long Island press in 1961, as, at age 17, Howard was the only white starter on the Manhasset High School varsity basketball team.
A member of the National Honor Society in high school, Howard turned down several offers of basketball scholarships in favor of a more focused academic education. He graduated in 1966 from Amherst College, where he served as captain of the basketball team. He was also a member of the a cappella singing group The Zumbyes. He attended Yale School of Drama but left to make his Broadway debut before completing his master's degree – which he achieved in 1999.
Howard began his career on Broadway in Promises, Promises with Jerry Orbach. In 1970, he won a Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for Child's Play. Howard later starred on Broadway as Thomas Jefferson in 1776 and reprised the role in the 1972 film. His other Broadway appearances included Seesaw in 1973 and The Norman Conquests. Howard portrayed several U.S. presidents in the 1975 Broadway musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and appeared as Warren G. Harding in Camping with Henry and Tom in 1995. He appeared in legitimate theater in many cities, most recently as Tip O'Neill in a one-man show According to Tip, at the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, Massachusetts.
On television, Howard appeared as Ken Reeves, a Los Angeles high school basketball coach, in The White Shadow, produced by Bruce Paltrow in 1978. Howard had the starring role in the 1973 TV series Adam's Rib opposite his good friend (and Paltrow's wife) Blythe Danner, who also played wife Martha to his Thomas Jefferson in the film version of 1776. He starred in The Manhunter, a crime drama that was part of CBS's lineup for the 1974–75 television season.
Howard starred in the TV movie Father Damien in 1980 (in which he replaced David Janssen in the title role after Janssen died a few days after the movie started production) and won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1981 for his performance as the ideal father in the CBS afternoon special The Body Human: Facts for Boys. Howard's additional credits included "Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels, 1983", the 2000 miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, and the feature film Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, both co-starring Kris Kristofferson. He played the title character in the 1984 American Playhouse production of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, having earlier played Twain on Bonanza. Later, he appeared as Garrett Boydston in Dynasty and its spin-off The Colbys. In the early 1990s, he appeared on Murder, She Wrote and, from 2001–04, in Crossing Jordan as the title character's father. In 2007, he appeared in the Jimmy Smits series Cane.
Howard guest-starred on numerous television dramas. He was guest villain in Hart to Hart Returns, a 1993 made-for-TV movie. He also appeared in season one of The West Wing as President Bartlet's first choice for US Supreme Court Justice in the episode "The Short List". His other dramatic guest roles included NYPD Blue, The Practice, Boston Legal, Cold Case, Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Brothers and Sisters, Law & Order: SVU, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fairly Legal, Crossing Jordan, The Closer, Blue Bloods, The Golden Girls, The Office, and 30 Rock.
Howard made his movie debut in 1970, in Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, opposite Liza Minnelli. Numerous dramatic and comedic movie roles followed, including: Otto Preminger's Such Good Friends with Dyan Cannon and Jennifer O'Neill, 1776, The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie, Independence, Second Thoughts, Oscar with Sylvester Stallone in 1991, Ulterior Motives, Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford in 1994, The Net with Sandra Bullock in 1995, Tactical Assault, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, and In Her Shoes in 2005.
In 2007, Howard appeared again with Stallone in Rambo, and in George Clooney's Michael Clayton. In 2010, he starred in The Numbers Game with Steven Bauer. He next appeared as Harlan F. Stone in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar.
He gave an acclaimed performance as Phelan Beale in the 2009 HBO film Grey Gardens, playing opposite Jessica Lange, for which he received an Emmy Award. His last films were Better Living Through Chemistry (2013), A.C.O.D.(2013), The Judge (2014), The Wedding Ringer (2015) and the biographical comedy-drama film Joy (2015).
Ken Howard was elected the National President of the Screen Actors Guild on September 24, 2009.
Howard was the author of the 2003 book Act Natural: How to Speak to Any Audience, based on the drama courses he had taught at Harvard University. He was a popular reader for audiobooks.
Howard was married three times. His first wife was actress Louise Sorel (m. 1973–75). His second wife was writer and advice columnist Margo Howard (m. 1977–91). His final marriage was to stuntwoman Linda Fetters Howard (m. 1992–2016).
In 2007, Howard was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. In March 2016, he was hospitalized in Valencia, California, with shingles, where he died on March 23, at the age of 71. He was the first and, as of 2023[update], the only Screen Actors Guild or SAG-AFTRA national president to die in office.
George Clooney, in whose 2007 legal thriller, Michael Clayton, Howard appeared, remembered having met him for the first time, in 1983 at 20th Century Fox, as a fan of The White Shadow.
|1970||Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon||Arthur|
|1971||Such Good Friends||Cal|
|1972||The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie||Virgil|
|1976||Independence||Thomas Jefferson||Short film directed by John Huston.|
|1983||Second Thoughts||John Michael|
|1993||Ulterior Motives||Malcolm Carter|
|1994||Clear and Present Danger||Committee Chairman|
|1995||The Net||Michael Bergstrom|
|1998||Tactical Assault||General Horace White|
|1999||At First Sight||Virgil's Father|
|2004||Stuck||Marty||Short film directed by Clark Harris.|
|Double Dare||Himself||Documentary film|
|2005||Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story||Bill Ford|
|In Her Shoes||Michael Feller|
|2007||Michael Clayton||Don Jeffries|
|2008||Rambo||Father Arthur Marsh|
|Under Still Waters||Conrad|
|The Beacon||Officer Bobby Ford|
|2010||A The Numbers Game||Harold|
|2011||J. Edgar||Harlan F. Stone|
|2012||A Fighting Man||George||Short film|
|Just an American||Dr. Sullivan|
|2014||Better Living Through Chemistry||Walter Bishop|
|The Judge||Judge Warren|
|2015||The Wedding Ringer||Ed Palmer|
|Joy||Mop Executive||Final Film Role|
|1969||N.Y.P.D.||Rick Crossfield||Episode: "Everybody Loved Him"|
|1972||Bonanza||Samuel Clemens||Episode: "The Twenty-Sixth Grave"|
|Medical Center||Kevin Morgan||Episode: "The Outcast"|
|1973||Adam's Rib||Adam Bonner||Contract role|
|1974–75||The Manhunter||Dave Barrett||Contract role|
|1977||The Court Martial of George Custer||Prosecuting attorney||Made-for-TV movie|
|1978||Superdome||Dave Walecki||Made-for-TV movie|
|The Critical List||Nels Freiberg||Made-for-TV movie|
|A Real American Hero||Danny Boy Mitchell||Made-for-TV movie|
|1978–81||The White Shadow||Ken Reeves||Contract role|
|1980||Father Damien: The Leper Priest||Father Damien||Made-for-TV movie|
|1982||Victims||Joe Buckley||Made-for-TV movie|
|The Country Girl||Bernie Dodd||Made-for-TV movie|
|1983||It's Not Easy||Jack Long||Contract role|
|1983||Rage of Angels||Adam Warner||Miniseries|
|The Thorn Birds||Rainer Hartheim||Miniseries|
|He's Not Your Son||Michael Saunders||Made-for-TV|
|American Playhouse||Pudd'nhead Wilson||Episode: "Pudd'nhead Wilson"|
|Hotel||Bill Tillery||Episode: "Passages"|
|1985||Hotel||Malcolm Taylor||Episode: "Missing Pieces"|
|1986||Rage of Angels: The Story Continues||Adam J. Warner||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|Dream Girl, U.S.A.||TV Host||Contract role|
|1988||American Playhouse||Sam Evans||Episode: "Strange Interlude"|
|The Man in the Brown Suit||Gordon Race||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|1985–1989||Murder, She Wrote||Various Roles||6 episodes|
|1991||Deadly Nightmares||Dubois||Episode: "Homecoming"|
|P.S. I Luv U||Jack Packer||Episode: "Pilot"|
|Murder in New Hampshire||Bill Smart||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|Memories of Midnight||Kirk Reynolds||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|1992||The Golden Girls||Jerry||Episode: "The Commitments"|
|1993||Batman: The Animated Series||Hartness||Episode: "See No Evil"|
|Hart to Hart Returns||Dr. Paul Menard||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|1994||One West Waikiki||Ronald Markham||Episode: "Til Death Do Us Part"|
|Moment of Truth: To Walk Again||Ed Keating||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|Captain Planet and the Planeteers||Voice||Episode: "A River Ran Through It"|
|1994–98||Melrose Place||Mr. George Andrews||Recurring|
|1995||Op Center||The President||Miniseries|
|Her Hidden Truth||Jack Devereaux||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|1996||Diagnosis: Murder||Special Agent Dunleavy||Episode: "Murder Can Be Contagious"|
|Arli$$||Rocky||Episode: "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of"|
|The Client||Charlie Braxton||Episode: "Money Talks"|
|1997||Something Borrowed, Something Blue||Senator John Farrell||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|Diagnosis: Murder||David Clarke||Episode: "Slam Dunk Dead"|
|The Practice||Senator Frank Patanki||Episode: "Hide and Seek"|
|1999||The West Wing||Judge Peyton Cabot Harrison III||Episode: "The Short List"|
|A Vow To Cherish||John Brighton||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|2000||The Practice||Defense Atty. Bradford||Episode: "Race Ipsa Loquitor"|
|Perfect Murder, Perfect Town||Alex Hunter||Miniseries|
|2001–05||Crossing Jordan||Max Cavanaugh||Recurring|
|2001||Family Law||Reardon||Episode: "Film at Eleven"|
|Arli$$||Coach Dreyfuss||Episode: "Of Cabbages and Kings"|
|2004||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Ken Abbot||Episodes: 2 episodes|
|A Boyfriend for Christmas||Judge||Uncredited|
|2006||The Office||Ed Truck||Episode: "The Carpet"|
|George Lopez||Dr. Woodson||Episode: "The Kidney Stays in the Picture"|
|Ghost Whisperer||Judge Walter Merrick||Episode: "Fury"|
|Huff||Walt Callahan||2 episodes|
|Conviction||Judge Hanford||Episode: "The Wall"|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Dr. Arlen Rieff||Episode: "Cage"|
|2007||Sacrifices of the Heart||Thane Weston||Made-for-TV-movie|
|The Nine||Alvy Munson||Episode: "Man of the Year"|
|2008||Brothers & Sisters||Boyd Taylor||Episode: "Double Negative"|
|Eli Stone||Thomas Hayes||Episode: "Grace"|
|Boston Legal||Judge Walter Yardley||Episode: "Kill, Baby, Kill!"|
|Dirty Sexy Money||Evan Connello||Episode: "The Summer House"|
|2009||Cold Case||Harry Kemp Jr. '58||Episode: "Libertyville"|
|Grey Gardens||Phelan Beale||Television Movie, HBO|
|2011–13||30 Rock||Hank Hooper||Recurring – 9 episodes|
|2011||The Council of Dads||Burt Wells||Made-for-TV movie|
|Fairly Legal||Charles Pease||Episode: "Pilot"|
|The Closer||Wes Durant||Episode: "Star Turn"|
|2012||The Young and the Restless||George Summers||3 episodes|
|Blue Bloods||Malcolm||Episode: "Nightmares"|
|Counter Culture||Ken||Made-for-TV movie|
|2014||The McCarthys||Coach Colwell||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1968–72||Promises, Promises||Bartender Eddie
|The Shubert Theatre, Broadway|||
|1969–72||1776||Thomas Jefferson||46th Street Theatre |
St. James Theatre
Majestic Theatre, Broadway
|1970||Child's Play||Paul Reese||Royale Theatre, Broadway|
|1971||JFK||Designer||Circle in the Square|
|1973||Seesaw||Jerry Ryan||Uris Theatre |
Mark Hellinger Theatre
|1975||Little Black Sheep||Jack Hassler||Vivian Beaumont Theatre|
|1975–76||The Norman Conquest Trilogy||Tom||Morosco Theatre|
|1600 Pennsylvania Avenue||The President||Mark Hellinger Theatre|
|1988–90||Rumors||Glenn Cooper||Broadhurst Theatre |
Ethel Barrymore Theatre
|1995||Camping with Henry and Tom||Warren G. Harding||Lucille Lortel Theatre|
|1996||In the Moonlight Eddie||Director||Pasadena Playhouse|
|2007||According to Tip||Tip O'Neil||New Repertory Theatre|
|2010||Hopeless Romantic||Michael Hanley||Center Stage Theater, Santa Barbara|
|2012||Golden Child||Assistant Director||Pershing Square Signature Center |
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
|1969||Theatre World Awards||—||1776||Won|||
|1970||Tony Awards||Best Featured Actor in a Play||Child's Play||Won|||
|1981||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming – Performers||The Body Human (Episode: "Facts for Boys")||Won|||
|2009||Online Film & Television Association Awards||Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries||Grey Gardens||Nominated|||
|2009||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Won|||
However, he again put his compelling voice to work...narrating more than 30 best-selling audio books.