June 10, 2011

USA: Senior U.S. performers happy but underused

LOS ANGELES, California / Xinhua / Life & Culture / Entertainment / June 10, 2011

Senior U.S. performers in Los Angeles and elsewhere are generally happy with their lives as artists, although they still face age discrimination, a study published Thursday showed.

Focusing on actors, dancers, choreographers, musicians and singers, the research, which is entitled "Still Kicking -- Aging Performing Artists in NYC and LA Metro Areas: Information on Artists IV," showed that ageism continues to affect older performers, but they haven't let it get them down.

These senior performers remain engaged in the community, are passionate about their craft and benefit from a lifetime of experience, according to the study.

The research was undertaken by the Research Center for Arts and Culture at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Seniors are a valuable, but underused, resource, said Adam Moore, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) interim national director of Affirmative Action and Diversity.

"The results bear out something that we have always known about our seasoned professionals: Despite feelings of being underutilized and underemployed, they are as passionate about what they do today as they have ever been during their careers," Moore said. "They see themselves as employers should see them: as an experienced and talented force to be reckoned with."

SAG President Ken Howard, 67 (photo on right), a Tony and two-time Emmy Award-winning actor, reflected on the personal challenges he has faced as a senior performer.

"I know very well what it is like to pursue work in this business as a senior -- through my own career on both coasts, as well as through the many conversations I have had with colleagues all over the country," said Howard, a former SAG National Senior Performers Committee national chair since September 2009.

"I can tell you that we at the Guild take very seriously the concerns voiced in this study and intend to use the findings to more effectively advocate on behalf of these performers. Whatever best serves seniors -- and we will all be seniors someday -- is a move toward better serving artists."

Los Angeles-based SAG made significant contributions to the study by providing demographic information and arranging interviews with senior artists, the guild said.  Source: Xinhua