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Child Actor, 'Champion of Labor,' Sheila Kuehl's Next Challenge: LA County Government

March 07, 2014

Sheila Kuehl walked her first picket line as a member of the Screen Actors' Guild, when she was 11 years old, an experience that forever forged her close ties to America's working families and their unions. 

Kuehl was a highly-respected child actress who worked in radio and on several well-known TV series, including "Trouble With Father" and, most memorably, as Zelda Gilroy, Dobie's wannabe girlfriend in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." She joined AFRA (which was trying to add a "T" for "Television" at the time) at age 9 and the Screen Actors Guild the following year. 

Even as a kid, she used her celebrity to speak out on workers' issues. She recalls walking the picket line at a studio in Culver City with other SAG members in a strike called over filmed TV commercials, when Walter Pidgeon was the SAG president. 

"It was thrilling to be carrying signs with other actors and it was an early lesson in what sticking together can accomplish," says Sheila. 

That experience set the stage for Kuehl's political activism, which has included her pioneering work as a lawyer and advocate for working families and women, 14 years as one of the nation's most effective state legislators, and now as a candidate for the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County, the nation's largest county, with a population of about 10 million (larger than 42 states), a budget of $26 billion, and over 100,000 employees, most of them involved with health care, human services, and law enforcement. Read More