Hollywood is paying tribute to Ken Howard, who died on Wednesday. He was 71.
Howard was a legend of the screens big and small, as well as the stage, though probably best known for the television show, “The White Shadow.” Over his decades-long career, he won both a Tony and an Emmy. More recently, he worked with many of his acting peers as the president of SAG-AFTRA.
Now many stars are remembering their longtime colleague and friend. Upon hearing the news, Debra Messing exclaimed on Twitter, “Oh No! RIP KEN HOWARD.” Josh Gad tweeted, “Words cannot express my sadness for the loss of my dear friend and Wedding Ringer co-star #KenHoward. Condolences to his family. RIP.”
“Au revoir to Ken Howard, my friend and union president,” posted Alec Baldwin. He further said in a statement, “I had known Ken most of my career, as I always remember ‘White Shadow’ as a big hit on CBS. Later on, when he became president of SAG, I would see him regularly at the SAG awards. Ken was a great union leader and he made me proud to serve as SAG Ambassador for a couple of years. When Ken showed up on the ’30 Rock’ set to play Hank Hooper, the owner of Kabletown, he reminded us all of just how funny he was. He nailed it. So often, union leaders lose a good part of their career as performers. Ken showed up, the head of SAG, and killed us with his take on the character and his timing. He was smart, talented and a doll to work with.”
George Clooney said in a statement of his own, “There’s a story about how a young actor met Ken on the Fox lot in 1983 and told him what a fan he was of ‘The White Shadow.’ Ken asked that actor what he did and the young man said, ‘Well, someday I hope to be lucky enough to work with you.’ Then he told Ken he had an audition all the way across town at Paramount but he wasn’t going to make it because all he had was a bike. So Ken put his bike in the trunk of his car and dropped him off at Paramount. Then Ken just waved goodbye and said good luck, ‘I hope we do get that chance to work together.’ I didn’t get that audition, but I did get the chance to work with him years later. It was an honor. Today his obituary read that he was six foot six, but he was so much taller than that.”
Tom Bergeon expressed, “Stunned and saddened. Condolences to his family.” Sharing an old photo, Jon Cryer wrote on Twitter, “Here’s Bill Daniels, my dad, and Ken Howard on B’way in 1776. This just breaks my heart. #RIPKenHoward.” Rob Lowe shared, “Will always remember working with the great Ken Howard on one of my favorite #WestWing scenes ever. #PutHimOnTheBuss.”
“Fondly remembering Ken Howard, the very warm and funny actor known to us on ‘The Office’ as Ed Truck,” B.J. Novak posted on Twitter with a photo from the show featuring Howard and Steve Carell. Carell retweeted the message, adding, “Wonderful guy…” Mindy Kaling shared the same picture, writing, “Ken Howard as Ed Truck on #theoffice. He was a great guy and also in the best onscreen prop photo of all time!”
On Instagram, Peter Facinelli posted a photo of himself with Howard on Instagram, writing, “#RipKenHoward One of the greats in so many ways. It was a privilege [sic] and an honor knowing you and getting to work with you. #heartbroken.” That was a description used by Melissa Gilbert, too, who tweeted, “Heartbroken to hear about the passing of my friend Ken Howard. He was a joy to work with as an actor & labor leader. A true force of nature.”
Willie Garson commented, “VERY heavy heart to say RIP to a good friend and great leader of actors, #kenhoward…..godspeed, so great to have known you.” TV producer Greg Berlanti remarked, “One of the best parts of my job is when i work with actors I loved as a kid and they’re even more kind than I imagined. RIP Ken Howard.” Ike Barinholtz noted, “RIP Ken Howard. He played my dad on a pilot once and told me great Mickey Mantle stories.”
“White Shadow, White Knight, a beautiful, talented, FUNNY man,” tweeted soap opera star Michelle Stafford. “I was so lucky to work with him. It was my honor #RIP Ken Howard.” Donal Logue said, “Wow — shocked to hear of the passing of Ken Howard — a true gentleman & mentor since my college days, and a great president of our Union.” And Octavia Spencer wrote, “Sad week: #Brussels #KenHoward #PhifeDawg!!! the more things change the more they stay the same.”
Holly Robinson Peete exclaimed on Twitter, “Oh how I loved #WhiteShadow #RIPKenHoward.” Pal Arsenio Hall retweeted the message. Kate Walsh also said, “Rest in peace Ken Howard. Wonderful man, great actor and served our guild well.”
And in a statement, “Beverly Hills, 90210” star Gabrielle Carteris, who is now the SAG-AFTRA acting president in the wake of Howard’s death, said, “Ken was an inspirational leader and it is an incredible loss for SAG-AFTRA, for his family and for everyone who knew him. He was a light that never dimmed and was completely devoted to the membership. He led us through tumultuous times and set our union on a steady course of excellence.”
“We will be forever in his debt,” she added. Gossip Cop extends condolences to all of Howard’s family, friends, and fans. The late star is pictured above at January’s SAG Awards.
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