Bernard Hill: Titanic and Lord of the Rings actor dies

Virgin Radio

5 May 2024, 15:21

L to R: Bernard Hill

Credit: Getty

Actor Bernard Hill, known for iconic roles in Titanic and Lord of the Rings, passes away at the age of 79, leaving behind a legacy of remarkable performances.

Bernard Hill, acclaimed for his portrayal of Captain Edward Smith in Titanic and King Théoden in Lord of the Rings, has passed away at the age of 79.

Born in Blackley, Manchester, in 1944, Hill's career spanned decades, leaving an indelible mark on both stage and screen.

Hill's breakout role came in the BBC TV drama Boys from the Blackstuff, where he embodied the character of Yosser Hughes, portraying the struggles of unemployment in Liverpool with raw authenticity.

His performance earned widespread acclaim, setting the stage for a distinguished career.

In 1997, Hill brought Captain Edward Smith to life in James Cameron's Titanic, a role that earned him international recognition and showcased his talent for embodying complex characters with depth and nuance.

He followed this success with his portrayal of King Théoden in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a performance that earned him numerous awards and cemented his status as a revered actor.

Throughout his career, Hill captivated audiences with his versatility, seamlessly transitioning between roles in film, television, and stage productions.

From his portrayal of Sergeant Putnam in Gandhi to his nuanced performance in Wolf Hall as the Duke of Norfolk, Hill demonstrated his remarkable range and depth as an actor.

In addition to his professional achievements, Hill cherished his personal life, sharing a loving marriage with fellow actor Marianna Hill and raising a son together.

His passion for his craft was evident in every role he undertook, leaving a lasting impact on audiences and peers alike.

Hill's sudden passing early on Sunday morning has left fans and contemporaries mourning the loss of a beloved talent.

The actor was also due to return to TV screens in series two of The Responder, a BBC drama starring Martin Freeman, which begins airing on Sunday.

Tributes have poured in on social media, with Scottish musician Barbara Dickson remembering Hill's remarkable talent and their time working together.

Her statement read: "It's with great sadness that I note the death of Bernard Hill. We worked together in John Paul George Ringo and Bert, Willy Russell marvellous show 1974-1975.

"A really marvellous actor. It was a privilege to have crossed paths with him. RIP Benny x."

Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama, paid tribute to him, saying: "Bernard Hill blazed a trail across the screen, and his long-lasting career filled with iconic and remarkable roles is a testament to his incredible talent."

"From Boys from the Blackstuff, to Wolf Hall, The Responder, and many more, we feel truly honoured to have worked with Bernard at the BBC. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time."

Hill was also meant to be at Comic Con Liverpool on Saturday, but had to cancel at the last minute, the convention said in a post on X. As news of his death broke, the organisers said on the platform they were 'heartbroken' at Hill's death, and wished his family 'a lot of strength'.

Despite his untimely passing, Hill's legacy will endure through his iconic performances and contributions to the world of entertainment.

As fans reflect on his remarkable career, they will fondly remember the depth, emotion, and humanity he brought to every role.

Hill's final project, The Responder, serves as a testament to his enduring passion for acting.

Although his time on screen may have come to an end, his impact on the world of entertainment will continue to inspire and resonate with audiences for generations to come.