Bernard Hill,“ The Lord of the Rings” and “Titanic” actor, dies at 79

The actor starred in two of the three most awarded films in Oscars history.

Bernard Hill, the actor best known for playing Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 history-making film Titanic, has died. He was 79.

Hill died Sunday morning, his manager William Blaylock confirmed to Entertainment Weekly. No cause of death was disclosed.

"Not only was he a wonderful client but became a dear friend and a loss that devastated us," Blaylock said. "Bernard was a wonderful actor dedicated to his craft. Also a wise man who cared deeply about the world."

Hill was expected to appear at ComicCon in Liverpool on Saturday, but canceled last minute according to a statement from the convention. Following the news of his death, organizers shared a statement of grief to social media.

"We’re heartbroken to hear the news of Bernard Hill’s passing," read the X post. "A great loss. Thinking of his family at this very sad time, and wishing them a lot of strength."

<p>Shirlaine Forrest/Getty</p> Bernard Hill

Shirlaine Forrest/Getty

Bernard Hill

Hill was born in Manchester in 1944. He studied theater in college and got his start with a small role in the BBC anthology series Play For Today. Hill would go on to become a star of both stage and screen.

His breakout role came in 1983 when he memorably starred as Yosser Hughes in the BBC drama, Boys from the Blackstuff. The series spanned five episodes, following a group of unemployed Liverpool men trying to eke out a living. The show’s most widely discussed episode follows Hill’s character as he is driven to the edge of sanity by the loss of his job and his wife, while authorities also threaten to take his children. The show won the BAFTA for best drama series that year.

Later, Hill famously earned acclaim for his portrayal of the soft-spoken Captain Smith in Titanic, who boldly goes down with the ship during the film’s emotional climax. The James Cameron-directed film is known for breaking several box office records and later becoming one of the most awarded films in Academy Awards history.

<p>CBS via Getty </p> Bernard Hill in 'Titanic'

CBS via Getty

Bernard Hill in 'Titanic'

Hill also happens to play a notable role in another comparably acclaimed film. In 2002, he joined Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise as King Théoden for the sequel film, The Two Towers. He would reprise the role in The Return of the King. With 11 Oscars each, both Titanic and The Return of the King are tied as two of the three films with the most Academy Awards of all time (Ben-Hur also makes the list).

Hill’s credits also include such acclaimed films as I, Claudius, Gandhi, Clint Eastwood’s True Crime, 1999’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Scorpion King and the Tom Cruise film, Valkyrie. More recently, Hall played the Duke of Norfolk in Wolf Hall, appearing as an uncle of Anne Boelyn in the BBC drama that went on to win several BAFTAs and a Golden Globe.

The actor will next be seen in the second season of The Responder, a Martin Freeman-starring BBC drama that began airing new episodes today.

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