Washington [US], June 6 (ANI): Shelby Scott, a former AFTRA executive who campaigned for the union’s merger with SAG in 2012, died on June 1 at her home in Tucson, Ariz. She was 86 years old at the time.
According to Variety, Scott worked for CBS’ WBZ-TV Boston for 30 years as a popular news anchor. From 1993 until 2001, she was the national president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
“In front of the camera, Shelby Scott’s career spanned decades and broke barriers. But it is for her work off-camera as a dedicated union leader that we at SAG-AFTRA will always be most grateful,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director.
He added, “As AFTRA national president for eight years and a board member for many more, as a trustee on the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, and through her foresight in working to merge SAG and AFTRA, Shelby’s legacy is profound and she will be deeply missed.”Scott worked for WBZ-TV in Boston from 1965 until 1996, when she retired. WBZ-TV was originally owned by Westinghouse and is now part of CBS Television Stations. Scott’s on-the-ground coverage of Boston’s many storms prompted the Boston Globe newspaper to measure snowfall in “Shelbys” rather than feet, according to WBZ. Scott would occasionally come out of retirement to cover major storms, according to WBZ.
“We are so sad to learn of the passing of Shelby Scott. Shelby was a force of nature and a legend for her coverage of New England storms. Every time there is a blizzard or nor’easter, viewers always reminisce about Shelby’s reports and are quick to try to crown the ‘next Shelby Scott,'” said Justin Draper, WBZ-TV president and general manager, as reported by Variety.
He continued, “There will never be another Shelby. She was one of a kind, and so much more than a storm reporter”.
Scott graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1957. She began her career at KIRO-TV Seattle as a traffic manager and progressed through the ranks to become an on-air reporter, producer, editor, and documentary filmmaker.
Scott travelled across the country to WBZ in 1965, where she worked as an anchor for most of her career. Scott and Gail Harris were the first all-female anchor team on local television in 1977.
Scott got out from behind the desk in the mid-1980s to cover storms, which became her signature. She was also a member of AFTRA, serving on the national board of directors in 1981. Before becoming national president in 1993, she served as president of AFTRA’s Boston local and as national vice president.
In 1998 and 1999, Scott led a failed attempt to merge AFTRA with its larger rival, the Screen Actors Guild, but the campaign was defeated by SAG members concerned about the impact on the guild’s pension fund and health insurance coverage.
Scott was active behind the scenes when a different SAG regime was able to get the merger referendum vote authorised in March 2012, more than a decade later. Scott was a key member of the “Group for One Union,” a coalition of former SAG and AFTRA executives that rallied members for the referendum vote and assisted in the formation of working groups to handle the difficult unification process.
After her term as president, Scott remained on the AFTRA board of directors. She later served as president of the AFTRA Foundation, where she assisted in the creation of the Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund in 2012 to aid SAG-AFTRA members. (ANI)