Bernard Hill Dies: ‘Lord Of The Rings’ & ‘Titanic’ Actor Was 79

Bernard Hill Dies: ‘Lord Of The Rings’ & ‘Titanic’ Actor Was 79

Bernard Hill, who played Captain Edward Smith in Titanic and King Théoden in two of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films, died early Sunday morning, his agent Lou Coulson confirmed. He was 79. No cause has was given.

His breakout role was in BBC TV drama Boys from the Blackstuff, where he portrayed Yosser Hughes, a character who struggled — and often failed — to cope with unemployment in Liverpool.

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Hill will be seen in Season 2 of The Responder, a BBC drama starring Martin Freeman, which begins airing on Sunday.

Along with Best Picture Oscar winners Titanic and The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King and the latter’s predecessor The Two Towers, his credits also included the 1976 BBC TV series I, Claudius, an appearance in 1982’s Gandhi, True Crime (1999) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999). The Scorpion King in 2002 and the 2008 Tom Cruise film Valkyrie.

The Manchester native was born into a family of coal miners. He had a varied onscreen career, coming to prominence acting in small, realistic dramas before going on to star in films that made billions worldwide.

He lived in Suffolk and is survived by his wife, Marianna Hill, and their son, Gabriel.


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