Mike Hodge, who just last month was reelected president of the SAG-AFTRA New York local, has died. Hodge, who was 70, recently finished shooting Humor Me for director Sam Hoffman. The film is now in post-production.

Gabrielle Carteris, the union’s national president, informed the board and officers of his death yesterday. “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,” she wrote to the union’s leaders yesterday evening. “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.

“Mike’s spirit shone brightly, and he was greatly admired by those he worked with, whether in the union’s boardroom or on set. He will be remembered for his professionalism, conviction and remarkable strength of purpose,” Carteris added. “His perseverance and ability to rally members helped make merger possible, and in that regard, SAG-AFTRA stands as a memorial to his accomplishments, leadership of the New York Local and everything he believed in.”

“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. Please send your thoughts and prayers to his family during this difficult time. We will provide an address for condolences shortly and I will share information on memorial services and arrangements as soon as that is available.”

Hodge was born February 24, 1947 in McComas, West Virginia and attended West Virginia University where he was part of the School of Journalism. After receiving his B.A. in journalism with a minor in theater, he worked for The Washington Post and then went on to continue his theater studies at the DC Black Repertory Theater. He earned his Equity, SAG and AFTRA cards while working in Washington, D.C., he decided to make a move to New York.

He appeared on Broadway in productions of Fences and A Few Good Men. He went on to land film and TV roles in  To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar and Law & Order. During the commercials strike in 2000, he was encouraged to run for SAG’s national board. In 2001, he won a seat. In 2009, he was elected president of the SAG New York Local. He served on the union’s G1 committee that created the framework for the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA, helping lead the campaign in New York.

During his years of union leadership, he was active in several union committees and also served as a member of the New York State AFL-CIO Executive Council, the City Labor Council and as a trustee to the Industry Advancement Cooperative Fund.

Rebecca Damon, the union’s executive vice president, took to Facebook and wrote about Hodge’s death.