Kenneth Joseph Howard Jr. (March 28, 1944 – March 23, 2016) was an American actor. He was best known for his roles as Thomas Jefferson in 1776 and as basketball coach and former Chicago Bulls player Ken Reeves in the television show The White Shadow (1978–1981). Howard won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1970 for his performance in Child's Play, and later won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his work in Grey Gardens (2009).
Howard was elected president of the actors' union, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), in September 2009 and reelected to a second term, in September 2011. He was the last president of the Screen Actors Guild and the first president of the newly formed union, SAG-AFTRA, after the Screen Actors Guild and another union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), voted to merge in 2012. He was reelected in 2015.
Howard was born on March 28, 1944, in El Centro, California, the son of Martha Carey (née McDonald) and Kenneth Joseph Howard, a stockbroker, being the elder of their two sons. His younger brother, the late Don Howard, was also an actor and director. His approximately 6-foot 6-inch (1.98 m) stature earned him the nickname "Stork" as a high school student. He grew up in Manhasset, New York, on Long Island.The nickname "The White Shadow" was given to him by the Long Island press in 1961, as, at age 17, Howard was the only white starter on the Manhasset High School varsity basketball team.A member of the National Honor Society in high school, Howard turned down several offers of basketball scholarships in favor of a more focused academic education. He graduated in 1966 from Amherst College, where he served as captain of the basketball team. He was also a member of the a cappella singing group The Zumbyes. He attended Yale School of Drama but left to make his Broadway debut before completing his master's degree -- which he completed in 1999.