Ken Howard Dead: ’30 Rock’ Actor, SAG-AFTRA President Dies at 71

Ken Howard
Screen Actors Guild president Ken Howard speaks onstage during the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016, in Los Angeles. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ken Howard, president of SAG-AFTRA, died at the age of 71 on Wednesday, March 23, SAG-AFTRA confirms. He passed away at his home near Los Angeles. No other information has been provided.

The California resident, who grew up on New York's Long Island, was best known for both his stage and screen work. He rose to fame with his role as Ken Reeves in the series The White Shadow, which ran from 1978 to 1981.

Howard also acted in TV shows such as Murder, She Wrote, Melrose Place, Crossing Jordan and Cane. He starred as lovably corrupt network executive Hank Hooper on the NBC comedy 30 Rock from 2011 to 2013, and last appeared as a mop executive in Jennifer Lawrence's 2015 drama, Joy.

Ken Howard and Alec Baldwin on '30 Rock'
Ken Howard (left) and Alec Baldwin on '30 Rock.' Ali Goldstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

According to the L.A. Times, Howard — an Emmy and Tony winner — also taught acting and public speaking at Harvard University in the mid-'90s. Back in August, he beat Home Improvement's Patricia Richardson for a second term as the president of SAG-AFTRA.

“Ken was an inspirational leader, and it is an incredible loss for SAG-AFTRA, for his family and for everyone who knew him," acting president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement on Wednesday. "He was a light that never dimmed and was completely devoted to the membership. He led us through tumultuous times and set our union on a steady course of excellence. We will be forever in his debt."

SAG-AFTRA’S national executive director David White also paid tribute to the late star. "Ken was a remarkable leader, and his powerful vision for this union was a source of inspiration for all of us," he said in a statement, via the Los Angeles Times. "He was an exceptional person, and we are deeply saddened by his passing. He had a remarkable career and he never forgot what it was like to be a working performer."

Howard is survived by his third wife, former stuntwoman Linda Fetters.

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