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    Posted February 6, 2007

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John P. Connolly Is Appointed Executive Director of Actors' Equity Association

John P. Connolly

Actors' Equity has announced the appointment of John P. Connolly as Executive Director, effective March 19, 2007. Mr. Connolly joins Equity directly from his position as National President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

In his new role, Connolly will direct the collective bargaining process for more than 30 national and regional contracts, oversee the Union's finances and supervise Equity's large professional staff. He will work closely with the Equity Council, the Union's governing body, to implement national policies and build consensus and entertainment industry support on key issues. In addition, Mr. Connolly will serve as spokesperson for Equity with media, labor, employers and government officials.

"We are pleased to have John Connolly join the Equity team," said President Mark Zimmerman. "He is highly respected in the acting community and is a strong trade unionist. John has extensive experience as a consensus builder and policy leader in the entertainment business, making him uniquely qualified for the position of Executive Director."

"I am humbled by the confidence and responsibility bestowed upon me by Equity's National Council and I pledge to serve our members, honoring the Union's nearly 100 year tradition, with all my heart and soul," said Mr. Connolly. "The decision to step down as AFTRA's President was difficult and heart-wrenching. The remarkable truth about both Equity and AFTRA is that each union is prepared and poised for a brilliant future. Our elected leaderships and staff are clear-eyed professionals, who are unafraid to face change, and eager to embrace the future of our arts."

John Connolly, who joined Equity in 1973, has appeared in numerous stage, film and television productions during his 35 year career as an actor. Among his nearly 200 stage credits are the Broadway production of BIG RIVER, New York Shakespeare production of THE GOLEM, THE ICEMAN COMETH with Al Pacino, and A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. Off Broadway, he played all 23 men in the life of THE ONLY WOMAN GENERAL starring Colleen Dewurst and played all the men and women in Shirley Knight's life as COLLETTE IN LOVE. He has guest starred in THE WEST WING, WITHOUT A TRACE, CROSSING JORDON and STAR TREK:TNG, among others. Connolly's film work includes leading roles in WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, INNOCENT VICTIMS and THE PLAGUE.

As a Union leader and activist, Mr. Connolly served as AFTRA President for six years before accepting the position at Equity. Among the many initiatives he launched during his terms are the creation the President' Strategy Cabinet to guide AFTRA's long -range planning and response to fundamental changes the industry and the Legislative and Public Affairs Committee, which focuses on public policy. Connolly has been a key negotiator in practically every film and television contract for actors in the entertainment industry over the last ten years. Prior to his presidency, he served as National First Vice-President and Vice President of AFTRA's New York local, among other positions and is a Trustee of the Union's Health and Retirement Funds. Connolly also served for five years on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild and Equity's national negotiating committees.

He worked closely with US Senators Grassley and Kennedy and then- House Majority Leader Boehner, and their staffs, in the development of the 2006 pension reform and protection bills. Currently, Mr. Connolly serves on the General Board of the AFL-CIO; the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: Council of Economic Advisors; the US Department of Labor's Advisory Committee on International Trade; and is Vice-Chair of the American Workers' Defense Committee, a non-partisan 5014 fund to support pro-union legislation and referenda nationwide. He is also a frequent guest lecturer and has received several honors from the labor and entertainment communities.

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