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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Stars support actors' dispute
Richard Dreyfuss and Harry Hamlin support strikers' rally
Dreyfuss and Hamlin lent their weight to a protest rally in LA
Richard Dreyfuss, Elliott Gould and Harry Hamlin were among the stars who came out in support of actors striking over pay in America.

The three screen celebrities joined a rally in Los Angeles on Tuesday staged by the two acting unions involved in the dispute to publicise their grievances with advertisers.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists unions went on strike on 1 May over residual payments earned by performers for TV commercials.

Crowd at the US actors' dispute
The crowd shows their enthusiasm at the rally in support of the US actors' strike

Several attempts by federal mediators to start negotiations between the two sides have failed. Tuesday's demonstration followed the breakdown of the latest attempt to bring the two sides face-to-face.

Another rally planned for Wednesday in New York is expected to be supported by more high-profile names, including legendary screen actress Lauren Bacall.


The dispute centres on what is known as the pay-for-play formula which has been in use since the 1950s. It involves paying actors each time one of their ads is shown on network TV, rather than just awarding them a one-off lump sum.

The two actors' unions want to extend pay-per-play to cover cable TV, for which performers currently receive a flat rate.

But advertisers are keen to abolish pay-per-play altogether and have instead proposed a higher flat-rate structure for both network and cable ads.

After spending a day in exploratory talks with each side in the dispute on Tuesday, federal mediator John Muir had hoped to bring them together for the first time since contract discussions went sour on 14 April.

Harry Hamlin
Harry Hamlin punches the air after making a speech at the rally

However, after the meeting, a spokeswoman for the SAG said there were no plans for the two sides to meet, adding that there had been "no movement" in the dispute.

Advertising industry officials have said that the business of making commercials is carrying on much the same as usual despite the walk-out.

They claim that most companies have been coping fine with non-union performers and have moved production to locations outside Los Angeles and New York.

But there have been suggestions many advertisers are indeed feeling the effects of the strike and are having to resort to repeating old advertisements made before 1 May.

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03 May 00 | Entertainment
Tiger backs striking actors
02 May 00 | Entertainment
US actors strike over fees
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