Their names are a who’s who of Hollywood history: Eddie Cantor, Robert Montgomery, James Cagney, Walter Pidgeon, Kathleen Nolan, Ronald Reagan, Edward Asner, Patty Duke, Charlton Heston, Melissa Gilbert. Besides being stars on the big screen, they all have been union presidents, leading the Screen Actors (SAG).
This year, SAG is celebrating its 75th anniversary in Hollywood style. The celebration kicked off in October 2007, when the union became the first labor organization to receive a star of excellence on the famed Hollywood Boulevard.
A special 75th anniversary edition of the union’s Screen Actor magazine highlights some of the union’s accomplishments over the past seven decades. For example, the legendary actor James Cagney, who led SAG from 1942–1944, was a fearless advocate for actors and was responsible for using the walkout as a tool for actors to protest and for forcing major changes in working conditions. Cagney was such a staunch supporter of workers’ rights that the boardroom at SAG headquarters is named for him.