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THEN AND NOW SAG'S NEWEST EXECUTIVES ARE ICONS OF '70S TELEVISION.

Byline: Greg Hernandez Staff Writer

What would you get if you put Laura Ingalls from ``Little House on the Prairie,'' Capt. B.J. Hunnicut from ``M*A*S*H'' and LAPD Officer Jim Reed from ``Adam-12'' into the same room?

No, not the taping of an episode of ``E! True Hollywood Story'' featuring '70s television icons. It would be Monday's first meeting of the newly elected leadership of the Screen Actors Guild.

SAG's new board of directors is loaded with enough familiar faces from television's past and present to fill the programming schedules of both Nick at Nite and TV Land, making for one of the most high-profile boards in the guild's recent history.

In decades past, such well-known actors as James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, Edward Asner and Patty Duke led the SAG board.

``I've watched the board kind of shift from that to lesser-known people,'' said SAG Treasurer-elect Kent McCord of ``Adam-12'' fame. ``The more recognizable we are, the better we are able to get our message across to the people that we have to bargain with in this industry.''

SAG President-elect Melissa Gilbert, who beat out Valerie Harper and others for the top SAG post, said a high-profile board can not only put more of a public spotlight on issues facing guild members, but also brings to the table a wealth of experience in the acting business.

``I think that the true benefit of having recognizable faces on this board of directors is that we all have a stake in the contract, because we've worked them,'' Gilbert said. ``We really have a great deal to say about agents and managers and our contract. That's a very valuable thing.''

Gilbert is also joined on the SAG board by Mike Farrell, best known for his role opposite Alan Alda on the classic series ``M*A*S*H.'' Farrell, now a cast member on NBC's ``Providence,'' was elected first vice president of the guild's Hollywood branch. Elliot Gould, Trapper John in the film version of ``M*A*S*H'' that led to the classic series, was elected to the national post of recording secretary. Gould has had a recurring role on ``Friends'' in recent years.

Richard Dreyfuss, currently starring in the CBS drama ``The Education of Max Bickford,'' was the top vote-getter of all candidates running for a board seat. Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for best actor for ``The Goodbye Girl.''

Other board members include four-time Emmy winner Harper (``Rhoda''), who has two years remaining on her term and said she plans to remain active; ``NYPD Blue'' star Esai Morales; and Academy Award nominees Diane Ladd (``Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore,'' ``Wild at Heart'' and ``Rambling Rose'') and Tess Harper (``Crimes of the Heart'').

Another new board member, Shelley Fabares, was familiar to television viewers long before her long-running role as Christine on ``Coach.'' Fabares had also played daughter Mary Stone on ``The Donna Reed Show'' for many years in the 1960s. In addition, she had a No. 1 pop single, ``Johnny Angel,'' in the '60s and is married to fellow board member Farrell.

And finally, there is Renee Taylor, best known for her flamboyant role as Fran Drescher's mother on ``The Nanny.'' Taylor was elected to a board seat in New York where she and her husband, Joe Bologna, have a rich history on the Broadway stage as both actors and writers and received an Academy Award nomination for writing the 1970 film ``Lovers and Other Strangers.'' Their most recent Broadway show, ``If You Ever Leave Me ... I'm Coming With You!'' closed due to slumping ticket sales in the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

CAPTION(S):

8 photos

Photo:

(1) `M*A*S*H,'

the TV series

(2) FARRELL

(3) `Adam 12'

(4) McCORD

(5) `Rhoda'

(6) HARPER

(7) `M*A*S*H,'

the movie

(8) GOULD
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 18, 2001
Words:642
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