At the recently held Screen Actor’s Guild, SAG Award, nearly sixty percent of the forty-two actors who were honored during the In Memoriam tribute were owed money when they died.
In 2015, almost sixty-percent of the honored-in-death were also owed money; and in 2014, of the forty-one late actors honored that year, more than fifty-percent are owed unclaimed residuals today.
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An article published by Deadline on the ”SAG Awards nominees owed unclaimed residuals”, sees the union paying back many of them including Johnny Depp, Ty Burrell, Peter Dinklage and Carol Burnett, who received the SAG Life Achievement Award.
Searching the SAG Unclaimed Residuals website, one finds the union owes money to more than 96,000 performers – an average of about $495 apiece. Some have much more coming to them, some much less.
Residuals, it’s said, are the lifeblood of actors, and that’s especially true of those who have fallen on hard times. Actress Anita Ekberg, the star of La Dolce Vita, lived almost penniless for years before she died last January. June Fairchild, who appeared in more than a dozen films, including Pretty Maids In A Row and Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, spent the last years of her life struggling to survive on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. They were both owed unclaimed residuals, as was Francesca Hilton, the only daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor and hotel magnate Conrad Hilton. Born to great wealth, she died flat broke in January 2014, alternately living out of her car and a low-rent weekly apartment in a rundown section of L.A.
Since Deadline ran an unclaimed SAG residuals story 18 months ago, the union has located, paid off and cleared the books on dozens of big-name celebrities identified in the story including such mega-stars as Tom Cruise, Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and Bradley Cooper.
The likes of Justin Timberlake, Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Nicole Kidman, Mariah Carey, and Melissa McCarthy are also being owed residuals.
Tens of thousands of less famous actors the union can’t locate are owed money too, which raises the question: If the union can’t find them, did they receive ballots to vote for the SAG Awards – or in the last SAG-AFTRA election?
In reply, the union acknowledged in response to inquiries, “At of the close of the last fiscal year, SAG-AFTRA reported unclaimed residuals of approximately forty-eight million dollars held in trust for performers,” “The fund fluctuates daily due to new receipts and amounts paid out to performers. The amount represents the unclaimed residuals funds held in trust by SAG-AFTRA, which combined the former SAG Unclaimed Residuals trust and the former AFTRA Unable to Locate trust.”