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Vaughn elected first vice president of the Screen Actors Guild

October 18, 2010 |  9:08 pm

Self-styled moderates gained further control over the Screen Actors Guild Monday night, electing their longtime spokesman Ned Vaughn to one of the union's top elected positions.

SAG board member Ned Vaughn was elected first vice president of the union by the guild's Hollywood division, the third-highest-ranking elected position in the 120,000-member union after the president and secretary treasurer.

His election was widely expected after his would-be opponent, former first vice president Anne-Marie Johnson, opted not to run again as first vice president. Johnson has been the leader of the Membership First faction in SAG that dominated the union until a coalition of actors supported by Tom Hanks and George Clooney and led by Vaughn, among others, took control of the union two years ago. They ousted the former leadership that had waged a yearlong contract standoff with the studios and destabilized production in Hollywood.

Known as Unite for Strength, the group's main goal is to seek a merger of SAG with the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Vaughn, a veteran film and television actor who has had guest roles in such TV shows as "Desperate Housewives" and "The Mentalist," was recently elected as an alternate board member of SAG in a landslide election for the moderates. He became a regular member of the national board when "Private Practice" star Amy Brenneman gave up her board seat and selected Vaughn to replace her.

"Our recent board election made it clear: Hollywood members overwhelmingly want performers in one union, not divided in two,'' Vaughn said in a statement. "I'll work to advance that goal and to make progress in every aspect of protecting our members."

--Richard Verrier