'Titanic' and 'Lord of the Rings' actor Bernard Hill dies at 79

ByThom Poole, CNN, CNNWire
Sunday, May 5, 2024
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British actor Bernard Hill, best known for supporting roles in "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, has died aged 79, his agent told PA Media.

Hill found fame in his home country starring in 1982's "Boys from the Blackstuff," a gritty drama about unemployed men that become symbolic of the Thatcher era.

But it was in smaller roles, lending quiet dignity to some of the most successful films in cinema history, that he will be most familiar to audiences.

In James Cameron's 1997 multi-Oscar winning "Titanic", Hill plays the ship's Captain Edward Smith as a man haunted by his role in the tragedy and ultimately resigned to his fate.

We last see him alone, still clutching the ship's helm, before the rising water bursts in through the windows.

Hill later appeared in two parts of Peter Jackson's blockbuster "The Lord of the Rings" series as Theoden, King of Rohan, who in "The Two Towers" is manipulated by his adviser before becoming a heroic leader in "The Return of the King."

Other film roles included "Gandhi," "Shirley Valentine" and "The Scorpion King."

His agent Lou Coulson told the PA news agency that he died in the early hours of Sunday. CNN has reached out separately for comment.

Paying tribute, Director of BBC Drama, Lindsay Salt said 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."

Actor Bernard Hill arrives for the TV BAFTA
Actor Bernard Hill arrives for the TV BAFTA's, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London, on July 5, 2006. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
Yui Mok/PA via AP

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