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‘Titanic’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ actor Bernard Hill has died

By Thom Poole and Audry Jeong, CNN

(CNN) — British actor Bernard Hill, best known for his supporting roles in the trilogy ‘Titanic’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’, has died, his family announced on Sunday.

“It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce that Bernard Hill, a renowned actor known for his roles in ‘Titanic’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’, passed away in the early hours of this morning at the age of 79.” the family said in a statement.

“He was with his fiancée Alison and his son Gabriel.”

Hill rose to fame in his home country with the lead role in 1982’s ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’, a raw drama about unemployed men that became emblematic of the Thatcher era.

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

In James Cameron’s 1997 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 holding the ship’s rudder, before the rising water rushes 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 is manipulated by his advisor in ‘The Two Towers’ 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.

In tribute, BBC Drama Director Lindsay Salt said Hill “blazed a trail across the screen, and his enduring career of iconic and remarkable roles is a testament to his incredible talent.”

The CNN Wire
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