Bernard Hill, ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Titanic’ Actor, Dies at 79

Bernard Hill
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Bernard Hill, the actor known for playing King Théoden in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Captain Edward Smith in “Titanic,” has died. He was 79.

Hill died early on Sunday morning, his agent Lou Colson confirmed to Variety. He was with his fiancée Alison and his son Gabriel. No cause of death was given.

Hill first came to prominence as Yosser Hughes in Alan Bleasdale’s 1982 miniseries “Boys From the Blackstuff”; his character was known for his “gizza job” catchphrase. That same year, he portrayed Sergeant Putnam in the Richard Attenborough-directed film “Gandhi.” Hill appeared in multiple British television series between the ’70s and ’80s, including “I, Claudius,” “Crown Court,” “Rooms,” “Fox” and “Jackanory.”

In 1997, Hill played Captain Smith in James Cameron’s “Titanic,” which won 11 Oscars. He then joined Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” franchise as King Théoden, appearing in 2002’s “The Two Towers” and 2003’s “The Return of the King,” which also nabbed 11 Oscars. Hill appeared in two of the three films with the most Academy Awards of all time to date (“Ben-Hur” also achieved the record).

In 2015, Hill played Duke of Norfolk, an uncle of Anne Boleyn, in the BBC miniseries “Wolf Hall,” which won the BAFTA for best drama series.

Hill was born on Dec. 17, 1944, in Blackley, Manchester. During his acting career, which spanned over five decades, he worked on other notable films such as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” (1996), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1999), “True Crime” (1999), “The Scorpion King” (2002), “Valkyrie” (2008) and “ParaNorman” (2012).

Hill will appear alongside Martin Freeman in the police drama “The Responder,” which begins airing its second season on BBC One this weekend.

From Variety US