This is one of the oddest stories we’ve run into in quite a while. It’s an exclusive from Deadline.com written by veteran Hollywood labor reporter Dave Robb:
“Why are so many living and deceased thesps owed unclaimed residual checks worth $40 million, money that is drawing interest for the [Screen Actors Guild] union’s general fund? The roll call of Who’s Owed is a Hollywood Who’s Who, including more than 75 Oscar-winning actors or their estates and dozens of Emmy winners who likely are unaware they are owed residuals. A union spokesperson tells Deadline the union is working to locate those members, but it is difficult because people change agents and don’t notify the union, or they move and mailed checks are returned by the post office and never cashed.
“Still, could it really be that hard to find some of these performers? Deadline found that if you threw a rock on the red carpet of any major industry event, chances are you’d hit somebody SAG owes money to.”
Robb reports that among those owed the residuals are Tom Cruise, Sally Field, George Clooney, Jay Leno, Cate Blanchett and Dustin Hoffman. Also, the estates of these dead actors and others: Johnny Carson, Julia Child, Rita Hayworth, Richard Pryor, Charlton Heston, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Roger Ebert.
Robb himself did a little experiment. He noted that for the past 30 years SAG has been collecting the residuals for the late Andy Kaufman. Robb writes, “The guild says it wants to pay his family the money it’s been holding for him, but for some reason, it hasn’t been able to find them.
“Well, I found them with a couple of phone calls, and SAG’s residuals department should be getting a call from his heirs any day now. After I saw Kaufman’s name on the unpaid residuals list, I used the World Wide Web and quickly found several members of his family, including his daughter Maria. She said she was unaware that the guild was holding her father’s residuals, and that she will definitely be reaching out to the guild’s residuals department.”
To read more details about this story we urge you to click on the link in our first sentence above, which will take you to Robb’s complete article.
The late Andy Kaufman on the TV show ‘Taxi’