PASSINGS: Ken Orsatti

Ken Orsatti

Former leader of Screen Actors Guild

Ken Orsatti, 78, who led the Screen Actors Guild as its national executive director from 1981 to 2000, died Tuesday at a West Hills hospital of pulmonary disease, the guild announced.

As the union’s chief negotiator, he brokered about 20 major contracts. One key to negotiating, Orsatti told the Los Angeles Business Journal in 1994, was flexibility.


“Someone once said that the perfect negotiation is one where both sides are unhappy,” Orsatti said. “There’s some truth to that.”

A Los Angeles native, he was born Alfred Kendall Orsatti on Jan. 31, 1932. His father and two uncles ran the Orsatti Agency, a prominent Hollywood talent agency.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from USC in 1956, Orsatti became a production assistant at Rorvic Productions, which was owned by his uncle, Vic Orsatti, and actor Rory Calhoun.

In 1960, the younger Orsatti was hired as a business representative for the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. He moved to the Screen Actors Guild in a similar position in 1961.


He was named the guild’s Western regional director in 1966 and served as its Hollywood executive secretary from 1971 to 1981.

-- From Times staff reports

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