‘Titanic’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Star Bernard Hill Passes Away at 79

'Titanic' and 'Lord of the Rings' star Bernard Hill Passes Away at 79
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Théoden, King of Rohan, is dead. British film and television actor, Bernard Hill, best known for portraying the ruler of Rohan in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2024 at the age of 79. No details have been provided, but it has been confirmed that he was in the company of his fiancée Alison and his son Gabriel. No official cause of death has been provided.

Bernard Hill had several memorable roles both on film and television, but younger audiences will probably best remember him for his role in The Lord of the Rings, but also for portraying Captain Edward J. Smith in James Cameron’s Titanic, which also earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.

Bernard Hill was born in Manchester in 1944. He attended the Xaverian College, and then Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama at the same time as Richard Griffiths, another famous British actor; he graduated in 1970. He first rose to prominence by playing Yosser Hughes in Alan Bleasdale’s The Black Stuff, and its series sequel, Boys from the Blackstuff. His catchphrase from the series, Gizza job (“Give us a job“), became a popular slogan during the anti-Thatcher protests in Britain at the time.

Since then, he has made a series of important appearances both on film and television. His most famous roles include Théoden, King of Rohan, in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Captain Edward Smith in Titanic, and Luther Plunkitt, the Warden of San Quentin Prison, in the Clint Eastwood film True Crime, and the Duke of Norfolk in the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Interestingly enough, he appeared in two movies that won a record 11 Oscars – Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – which is certainly an interesting trivia fact.

He was married to American-born actress Marianna Hill, with whom he had a son named Gabriel. The couple divorced and he was engaged to Alison at the time of death. He was also a longtime supported of Manchester United. May he rest in peace.

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