Mike Hodge, the president of the SAG-AFTRA New York local chapter, died Saturday night at the age of 70. He was also an actor who had recurring work on Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as well as four Broadway shows.

Hodge had been re-elected in August when he won 66-percent of the vote. The first VP of the New York local, Rebecca Damon posted news of his passing to her Facebook page and shared the heartfelt words:

Mike Hodge was a powerful unionist, a remarkable leader, and more than anything a great friend, colleague, and mentor. He led our local through several challenging years and into the momentous merger. He built on that powerful foundation to bring cohesion and stability to our local and helped build the industry economy on which New York members’ careers now thrive. His vision and leadership made us stronger and justifiably prouder. Alongside the pain of losing Mike, I urge us all to remember his extraordinary achievements on behalf of SAG-AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild before it. For me, and I am sure for many of you who were his closest friends, this is particularly heartbreaking as we have lost not just a president, but a father figure and a big brother. Mike was a towering presence whose kindness and good nature made each of us better.”

A West Virginia native, Hodge worked as a journalist at the Washington Post, and in the early 1970s, turned to community theater more to relax and have fun than to become an actor. In addition to acting, he realized his skillset with the media was very much in need, and so he also promoted the productions with which he was involved. In 1995, he made his television debut with ABC’s soap opera Loving. Hodge frequently portrayed police officers which fit his commanding presence and resonant voice. He also appeared in several films including Blue Steel, Malcolm X, The Mirror Has Two Faces, and Ransom. More recently, Hodge appeared in the comedy Humor Me which is currently in post-production.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris expressed warm sentiments in a message to board members, writing: “It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of the sudden and unexpected passing of our dear friend and much-beloved colleague Mike Hodge. Mike was an incredible advocate for SAG-AFTRA members since he first joined SAG’s New York board back in 2001. Through nearly 16 years of service, we came to know his wit, his generous nature, and his insight. Mike had a deep love for the work we do as performers and enjoyed every character he brought to life on stage, television or film. We all relied on his kindness and his vibrant spirit to help guide us as we focused on the union and its members.It is painful to think that the gentle giant whom we so admired and loved is no more, but I personally take comfort in the thought that, as Mike would say, we will see each other again.”

 

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