Thursday, August 27, 2009


David Alter, former Screen Actors Guild senior advisor and legal counsel, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 26 at age 85.

Alter was legal counsel to Screen Actors Guild in a variety of capacities beginning in 1966 and concluding with his retirement from the Guild in 2004. He began his career as an attorney for individual performers until he was tapped by SAG leadership to represent the interests of the Guild and all its members. He was named outside counsel to the Guild in New York in 1966 and became national outside counsel in 1980. Alter served in this role until 1998, when he retired from private law practice and became the Guild's director of legal affairs and in 2004 senior advisor. He retired in July of that year.

Alter, a widely regarded entertainment law specialist, devoted his professional life to representing actors and their interests. He was an expert negotiator whose legal acumen and tenacity helped favorably conclude a number of significant arbitrations resulting in considerable savings and settlements for the Guild.

Screen Actors Guild Interim National Executive Director and former General Counsel David White said, "David Alter was a tremendous advocate for the rights and interests of actors and he was a respected and admired part of the Screen Actors Guild for many years. His deep knowledge and expertise were invaluable contributions to my early years with the Guild and I will personally miss his brilliant spirit. He was a friend to actors, a friend to the Guild and a friend to me. We are all deeply saddened at his passing and extend our condolences to his family."

"David Alter's contributions to Screen Actors Guild and to the entertainment industry were unmatched," said John McGuire, Screen Actors Guild's senior advisor and chief negotiator. "He was a beloved member of the SAG family and the entire entertainment community benefited from his years of service and wisdom."

Alter is survived by his wife Deborah, his daughters Lisa and Amy and four grandchildren.
Memorial services are scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Sunday, August 30, 2009 at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 W. 76th Street, New York, NY 10023.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to:
Parkinson's Disease Foundationc/o Lucine J. Cote, M.D.1359 Broadway, Suite 1509New York, NY 10018