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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 11:04 GMT
Prairie star wins union race
Melissa Gilbert
Gilbert: Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie
Former child star Melissa Gilbert has won a resounding second victory as president of the Screen Actors Guild in the US.

The result has decided one of the bitterest rows in the Hollywood union's 69-year history in favour of the guild's moderates.

Gilbert, 37 - who played Laura Ingalls in 1970s TV series Little House on the Prairie - took 21,351 votes out of nearly 38,000 cast.

Rival Valerie Harper, 61, who starred in 1970s TV comedy Rhoda, received 12,613 votes.

Valerie Harper and Paul Sorvino
Valerie Harper played Rhoda in the 1970s sitcom

Gilbert repeated her defeat of Harper in last November's election, the result of which was annulled after protests from the Harper camp of balloting irregularities.

Just under 28,000 ballots were cast in the first election, which saw Gilbert edging out Harper, the then favourite, by around 1,600 votes.

Turnout this time was high by SAG standards, with 41.4% of more than 91,000 ballots returned - the highest level on record for a presidential race

Two Harper allies won repeat victories to national office, M*A*S*H film star Elliot Gould as recording secretary and Kent McCord, of the 1960s police show Adam 12, as treasurer.

Accepting victory, Gilbert said the election had been rerun in a fair manner.

"The real winner is the democratic process," she added.

See also:

11 Mar 02 | Film
Surprises at actors' awards
12 Feb 02 | Oscars 2002
Rings leads Oscars race
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