Bernard Hill, 'Titanic' and 'Lord of the Rings' Actor, Dead at 79

Bernard Hill

English actor Bernard Hill, known for roles in high-profile projects like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Titanic, has passed away. He was 79.

Hill's agent. Lou Coulson, confirmed his death to BBC, reporting that the actor died on the morning of Sunday, May 5. No cause of death has been shared.

The actor was set to make his anticipated return to television on May 5 in Season 2 of the show The Responder, starring Martin Freeman. Hill's last TV appearance was in the crime drama Unforgotten in 2016.

Hill is a familiar face for many, as the actor notably played Captain Edward Smith in the Oscar-winning film Titanic. Additionally, he played the character King Théoden in Lord of the Rings, starring opposite actors like Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood and more.

He also had other memorable roles over the years, with a few standouts being his breakout role in Boys from the Blackstuff in 1982, Once Upon a Time in the North in 1994, The Scorpion King in 2002 and Wolf Hall in 2015, among others.

In a 2011 interview with the Norwich Film Festival, Hill touched on his experiences working on hit projects. He described Lord of the Rings fondly as he said, "What was interesting with the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) atmosphere was it was like a small budget film, almost like a small family unit."

The interviewer then asked him about his favorite memory of filming, leading the late actor to proclaim, "I loved every minute of every day that I was on Lord of the Rings."

Hill is survived by his wife, American actress Marianna Hill, and their son, Gabriel.

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