Lord of the Rings star Bernard Hill dies aged 79

Bernard Hill has died at the age of 79 credit:Bang Showbiz
Bernard Hill has died at the age of 79 credit:Bang Showbiz

Bernard Hill has died at the age of 79.

The actor was best known for his role as King Théoden in the 'Lord of the Rings' film series and had a career on stage and screen for more than 50 years but passed away on Sunday (05.05.24) morning, his agent, Lou Coulson has now confirmed.

Bernard - who was also known for starring as Captain Edward Smith opposite Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1997 blockbuster 'Titanic' - is survived by his wife Marianne and their son Gabriel, although no cause of death has been announced at present.

He had been due to appear at Liverpool's Comic-Con over the weekend but cancelled at the last minute, and the event organisers immediately took to social media to lead the tributes.

They wrote on X: "We’re heartbroken to hear the news of Bernard Hill’s passing. A great loss. Thinking of his family at this very sad time, and wishing them a lot of strength."

The 'True Crime' star was born in Manchester and attended drama school at the same time as the late 'Harry Potter' actor Richard Griffiths before playing small roles on television but did not get his big break until 1980 when he was cast as working-class Liverpudlian man ultimately driven to the edge by the welfare system in 'The Black Stuff'.

As his career took off, Bernard took on roles in 'Gandhi' 'Mountains of the Moon', 'Skallagrigg' and 'Madagascar Skin' before appearing in Hollywood films like 'The Ghost and the Darkness', opposite Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas.

Singer Barbara Dickson - who is known for her roles in West End shows such as 'Blood Brothers' and 'Chess' - recalled working with Bernard in a play about the Beatles early on in their careers and noted that it was a "privilege" to have known him.

She wrote on X: "It’s with great sadness that I note the death of Bernard Hill. We worked together in 'John Paul George Ringo and Bert', Willy Russell marvellous show 1974-1975. A really marvellous actor. It was a privilege to have crossed paths with him. RIP Benny x"