May 20, 2024


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Bernard Hill: Titanic and Lord of the Rings actor dies

Bernard Hill: Titanic and Lord of the Rings actor dies

  • Written by Paul Gribbin and Noor Nanji
  • BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Actor Bernard Hill, best known for his roles in Titanic and The Lord of the Rings, has died at the age of 79.

He played Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 Academy Award-winning film and King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings.

His breakout role was in the 1982 BBC television drama Boys from the Blackstuff, in which he portrayed Yossar Hughes, a character who struggled – and often failed – to overcome unemployment in Liverpool.

His agent, Lou Colson, confirmed that he died early Sunday morning.

His fiancée, Alison, and his son, Gabriel, were with him at the time.

Alan Bleasdale, who wrote Boys from the Blackstaff, said Hill’s death was “a great loss and also a great surprise”.

“It was an amazing, magical performance – Bernard gave everything to it and you could see that in all the scenes. He became Yossar Hughes.”

He added: “I was desperate to work with him. Everything he did, his whole working process, the way he worked and his performance was everything you could ever hope for.”

“You always felt that Bernard would live forever. He was very strong physically and personally.”

Comment on the photo, Bernard Hale as King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Bernard Hale played Captain Edward James Smith in the movie Titanic

Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, paid tribute to him, saying: “Bernard Hill has blazed a trail across the screen, and his long-lasting career full of distinctive and brilliant roles is testament to his astonishing talent.”

“From Boys from the Blackstuff, to Wolf Hall, The Responder, and many more, we feel truly proud to be working with Bernard at the BBC. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time.”

In Boys from the Blackstuff, Hill received praise for his bold portrayal of Yossar Hughes, a powerful and memorable character who defended “Jeza’s job” while seeking employment.

The series won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series in 1983, and in 2000 it was ranked seventh on the British Film Institute’s list of the best TV shows of all time.

Comment on the photo, Josser Hughes, played by Bernard Hill, was one of the most memorable characters in the 1982 film Boys From The Blackstuff.

One of Hill’s most memorable television appearances came on the BBC in the 2015 drama series Wolf Hall, adapted from Hilary Mantel’s book about the court of Henry VIII. Portrait of Hale, Duke of Norfolk – uncle of Anne Boleyn and enemy of Cardinal Wolsey.

Hale was also much beloved for his performance in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

Lord of the Rings co-star Dominic Monaghan said Hill had “moved on to the gray havens” in a statement on Instagram.

“But he will always be remembered,” he added.

Other roles in Hill’s decades-long career included the 1976 BBC television series I, Claudius, appearances in 1982’s Gandhi, 1989’s Shirley Valentine, 2002’s The Scorpion King, and the 2008 Tom Cruise film Valkyrie.

He was supposed to be at Comic Con Liverpool on Saturday, but had to cancel at the last minute, the convention said in a post on X’s website. As news of his death spread, organizers said on stage they were “saddened” by Hill’s passing, and wished his family “a lot of strength”.

Scottish musician Barbara Dixon too X was honoredSaying he is a “really great actor”.

She added: “It was an honor to meet him. Rest in peace Penny X.”