SAG-AFTRA Honors John Carter Brown and Belva Davis with 2018 Howard Keel Award

SAG-AFTRA Honors John Carter Brown and Belva Davis with 2018 Howard Keel Award

SAG-AFTRA announced today that actor John Carter Brown and broadcaster Belva Davis will be the 2018 recipients of the Howard Keel Award for their significant contributions to the union.

"I want to congratulate my colleagues Belva Davis and John Carter Brown on their well-deserved recognition," said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. "Both John and Belva have worked tirelessly for decades with SAG-AFTRA and its predecessor unions to elevate the voices and needs of their fellow members. They truly embody the spirit of the Howard Keel Award."

Howard Keel Award Committee Chair Nancy Duerr said, "This year's winners of the Howard Keel Award embrace the true meaning of union leadership and sacrifice. Both Belva Davis and John Carter Brown have blazed trails with their craft, passion and service to members of legacy SAG, AFTRA and now SAG-AFTRA. I am proud to recognize their gifts and leadership with this prestigious honor alongside my brothers and sisters representing the Committee of Locals."

Brown, known affectionately as JCB by his friends and colleagues, has a long and varied career spanning over 25 years in volunteer service to AFTRA, SAG and SAG-AFTRA. Since 1997, Brown has been a part of every national commercial contract negotiating team. He also committed his time, talent and energy to pension and health issues that affect all members by becoming a trustee 14 years ago of what are now known as the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and SAG-Producers Pension Plan.

Representing the Chicago Local, Brown served on the AFTRA National Board for two terms, from 2001-2004, and the SAG National Board for four terms, from 2002-2012. He has served on the SAG-AFTRA National Board since 2012.

Davis was the first African-American woman hired as a television reporter at KPIX-TV 5 San Francisco in 1966. She began her union service on the San Francisco AFTRA Local Board, attended her first convention in St. Louis, was elected Board president in 1978 and served as an AFTRA vice president. She also served as a national leader of AFTRA from the 1980s through merger.

Davis became an expert on diversity issues, leading union diversity meetings with both networks and government agencies and served as AFTRA's National EEO Committee chair for more than 12 years. She was instrumental in creating the union's American Scene Awards, which are bestowed on productions that represent a realistic portrayal of American diversity. A recipient of the SAG-AFTRA George Heller Memorial Award gold card, Davis was named Board member emeritus by the San Francisco-Northern California Local Board in 2015.

The Howard Keel Award is the highest honor given by the SAG-AFTRA Committee of Locals, and will be presented at its meeting in Los Angeles on Oct. 22. The award, which was created in 2008, is named after the late actor and singer Howard Keel, who served as the Screen Actors Guild's 10th president from 1958-1959. Keel, a proponent of merger with AFTRA, expanded SAG's national board from 39 to 52 seats, which for the first time allowed for local representation from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Boston.


SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at

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