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Sally Field throws support behind SAG challengers

July 24, 2008 | 11:49 am

Sally Field,  who won an Oscar for her role as a fiery union leader in the 1979 movie "Norma Rae," isn’tNormarae  feeling much solidarity with the leadership of the Screen Actors Guild.

Field has thrown her support behind a group of dissident actors who are mounting an election challenge to SAG President Alan Rosenberg and the political group known as Membership First that swept control of the board nearly three years ago.

"In the 43 years I’ve been a member, I’ve never before doubted our union’s leadership ... but recent actions of the Hollywood board have destroyed my faith," Field wrote in an open letter to SAG members.

Her missive was not unexpected, given the bad blood between her and Rosenberg. In January, the pair got in a kerfuffle at the end of a SAG Awards dinner when Field, star of the ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters," pressed Rosenberg to fast-track negotiations and questioned his leadership. Later, she and other high-profile actors, including George Clooney, grilled Rosenberg and SAG executive director Doug Allen about getting negotiations underway.

Meanwhile, Membership First is lining up its own share of high-profile backers and candidates to run for the national board.

So count on many more dueling letters from celebrities as they take sides in an election that could chart the future course of Hollywood’s largest, if most dysfunctional, union.

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Sally Field as Norma Rae. Credit: Associated Press.

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