Titanic and Lord of the Rings actor Bernard Hill dies aged 79

Kellie Balaam
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Bernard Hill is most known for his roles in 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Titanic'.

British actor Bernard Hill, most known for his roles in Titanic and Lord of the Rings, has sadly died aged 79.

Hill’s agent Lou Coulson confirmed the star passed away early Monday morning Australian time with his fiancee Alison and son Gabriel by his side.

Hill was best known for playing Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 Oscar-winning film Titanic and King Théoden in the Lord of the Rings.

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His breakout role was in the 1982 BBC TV drama Boys from the Blackstuff, where he portrayed Yosser Hughes, a character who struggled and often failed to cope with unemployment in Liverpool.

Fellow Lord of the Rings cast members paid tribute to their co-star at Comic-Con in Liverpool.

Sean Austin, who played hobbit Sam, said: “We love him. He was intrepid, he was funny, he was gruff, he was irascible, he was beautiful.”

Billy Boyd, who played hobbit Pippin, recounted watching the trilogy with another co-star Dominic Monaghan.

“I don’t think anyone spoke Tolkien’s words as great as Bernard did. He would break my heart. He will be sorely missed.”

Boys from the Blackstuff writer, Alan Bleasdale, said Hill’s death was a “great loss”.

“It was an astonishing, mesmeric performance — Bernard gave everything to that and you can see it in all the scenes. He became Yosser Hughes.”

“I was desperate to work with him. Everything he did — his whole procedure for working, the manner in which he worked and his performance was everything that you could ever wish for.

“You always felt that Bernard would live forever. He had a great strength, physically and of personality.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 27:  Actor Bernard Hill attends the "Titanic 3D" World premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on March 27, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Hill at the Titanic 3D World premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on March 27, 2012 in London. Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Hill, who was born in Manchester and lived in Suffolk, was due to return to TV screens in series two of The Responder, a BBC drama starring Martin Freeman, which aired on Sunday.

Director of BBC Drama Lindsay Salt paid tribute to him, saying: “Bernard 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.”

“From Boys from the Blackstuff, to Wolf Hall, The Responder, and many more, we feel truly honoured to have worked with Bernard at the BBC. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time.”

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