Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker to Welcome SAG Leaders

Atlanta, GA (June 2, 2009) – The leadership of the Screen Actors Guild Regional Branch Division (RBD) will meet for their annual board meeting June 6-7 in Atlanta, Georgia. The RBD includes 20 Branches spanning from Boston to Hawaii. Nearly 24,000 Screen Actors Guild members who work in film and television live in the regional branches.

Georgia Branch SAG member and human rights activist Elizabeth Omilami will open the board meeting for the SAG RBD. Omilami is the daughter of Civil Rights activist Hosea Williams and CEO of the organization founded by her late father, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless.

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker will present the welcome address. Baker is a candidate for governor in 2010. Among his many legal accomplishments since becoming attorney general in 1997, Baker has worked on local anti-piracy legislation and tax incentives for filming in the state.

The inaugural Howard Keel Award will be presented at the RBD board meeting, named for the legendary actor and former SAG President Howard Keel. The award is given to a person (or persons) who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of Screen Actors Guild and to the welfare and benefit of members in their Branch or the Regional Branch Division as part of a national union. This year, the RBD will honor Edith Ivey of the Georgia Branch and Fern Persons of the Chicago Branch.

About Howard Keel
Howard Keel burst onto the international scene in 1947 via his London theatrical performance as “Curly” in Oklahoma! Memorable film roles followed, including Annie Get Your Gun, Showboat, Kiss Me Kate and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Mr. Keel became SAG’s 10th National President (1958–59) and during his term the SAG National Board was increased from 39 to 52 seats, allowing for Branch representation - for the first time - from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Boston.

About the Honorees
Fern Persons (Chicago) became a member of the Screen Actors Guild almost as soon as the Branch was established in 1953, and served on the local Council for 44 years. Prior to the 1970’s, Branches outside of Hollywood and New York rotated service as a single shared Vice Presidency. Fern Persons led the fight to establish permanent, numbered Vice-President seats for members of the former Regional Branch Conference (now the RBD). The RBD as we know it exists in no small part due to the efforts of Fern Persons.

Edith Ivey (Georgia) has charmed audiences and bettered the lives of countless SAG members, devoting herself to enabling professional performers to live and work in Georgia and throughout the Southeast. A member since 1953, she served on numerous committees - Seniors, Agent Relations, Nominating Committees, etc. Her compassion and tenacious dedication to local members has been an incalculable asset, yet her greatest accomplishment was her co-founding of the Georgia “Casting About” program. Through “Casting About” local members were given the chance to meet face to face with casting directors from all over the Southeast, allowing members to showcase their talent as well as build productive relationships for the future. This “members only” event exposed hundreds of local actors to significant casting people in our area and led to numerous work opportunities for SAG members. Edith has been awarded the “SAG Georgia Life Achievement Award” for her efforts and is without question one of that Branch’s most beloved members.