Iconic Actor Gone at 79

(WatchDogReport.org) – British actor Bernard Hill, remembered for his roles in Titanic and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has died at the age of 79. In The Two Towers and Return of the King, Hill played King Théoden, the leader of Rohan, who was liberated from a curse by Gandalf the White so he could lead an army against invading Orcs. The actor also had a role as Edward Smith, the captain of the doomed Titanic in Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster. Hill’s agent, Lou Coulson, announced that he died early in the morning on May 5.

Hill had supporting roles in The Bounty, Darkness, Gandhi, and The Ghost. He also played a prison warden in Clint Eastwood’s 1999 movie True Crime. Before rising to fame in cinema, Hill had his breakthrough role on TV playing Yosser Hughes in the BBC’s Boys from the Black Stuff TV drama. The series focused mainly on Yosser’s struggles with finding employment in Liverpool.

Relied on as a character actor, notably as figures of authority, Hill also had roles in theater before rising to prominence in the movie industry. It was revealed that only hours before he died, Hill pulled out of a Comic-Con Lord of the Rings reunion, saying his wife was ill and telling his fans to “keep going.” Fellow cast members of Peter Jackon’s trilogy, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, and Billy Boyd, were seen dining at a restaurant in Liverpool, where Hill was also absent.

Alan Bleasdale, the writer of Boys from the Black Stuff, called Hill’s death a “great surprise.” Later in life, the actor described working on The Lord of the Rings as his fondest memory, stating that he loved every moment of every day he spent working on the trilogy.

Hill’s fellow cast members paid tribute to him at the Liverpool Comic Con. Astin called the actor “intrepid” and “gruff” and said how much he and other cast members loved him and his sense of humor. Boyd noted that nobody uttered Tolkien’s words as beautifully as Hill did in the movies and that he will be missed. Elijah Wood also paid tribute to his fellow actor on X (formerly Twitter):

Hill’s fiancé Alison and his son Gabriel were with him when he died. No cause of death has been made public.

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