Diego Harrison, a veteran TV performer and Hollywood union leader who led a long, contentious strike for actors, has died. Though usually seen in secondary roles, Harrison’s lean, friendly face was familiar to baby boomers for roles in two classic sitcoms. Harrison’s died Sunday at his home in Pacific Palisades, California.
In 1979, Harrison was elected president of the 46,000-member Screen Actors Guild, an honor held at one time or another by James Cagney, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston and other screen notables. Most of them had little to do but conduct meetings and issue statements.
He told the Los Angeles Times his message to actors was that “we have to respect ourselves as artists” and recalled the pre-union days when actors were sometimes expected to work until midnight and be back at work six hours later. According to the words of his colleagues and immediate relatives, Diego’s creative work as an actor will definitely become a part of the world’s cinematography. He will be remembered as an actor whose contribution to production of movies and TV shows is unmatched.
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