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Lord Of The Rings Star Bernard Hill Has Died

Bernard Hill Dead: The actor, who played roles in The Lord of the Rings and Titanic, has died.
Credit: Alamy

Actor Bernard Hill, who starred in The Lord of the Rings and Titanic, has died. 

Hill was an English actor best known for playing Théoden, King of Rohan in the LOTR trilogy and Captain Edward Smith in Titanic.

He was also known for playing roles in television, including Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Blackstuff and Duke of Norfolk in the BBC adaption of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

Sadly, it has been confirmed by Hill’s management company that he has passed away.

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The statement reads (via Sky News): “Bernard was a client of Optimism Entertainment for many years and was a true gentleman and extremely talented artist.

“He was an amazing man and we are saddened to hear of his passing. Our deepest condolences go out to his family. We will miss him greatly.”

BBC Drama director Lindsay Salt adds: “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.”

Bernard Hill in Titanic (1997).
Bernard Hill is known for his role as Captain Edward Smith in Titanic. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tributes have been paid to Hill on X (formerly Twitter), with the actor’s LOTR co-star Elijah Wood penning: “So long to our friend, our king, Bernard Hill. We will never forget you.

“‘For he was a gentle heart and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last fair morning’.”

Another adds: “Thank you, Bernard Hill, for a performance so many of us will always treasure: a truly unforgettable and epic portrayal of King Théoden. Hail the victorious dead!”

Somebody else writes: “So sad to hear about the death of Bernard Hill.

“Having watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy at least 10 times – it’s ALWAYS this scene that I love most. His portrayal of King Théoden is just incredible – what a legacy to have.”

Bernard Hill in LOTR.
Bernard Hill played Théoden, King of Rohan, in The Lord of the Rings. Credit: New Line Cinema

In Titanic, Hill’s character, Captain Edward Smith, is one of the only characters based on a real person.

This film would win a staggering 11 Academy Awards.

The Manchester native is a part of one of the most memorable scenes in the LOTR trilogy – his character sends his troops thundering downhill towards the enemy and his death.

“Arise, arise, riders of Théoden!” Hill calls. “Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now! Ride now! Ride! Ride for ruin and the world’s ending! Death! Death! Death!”

LOTR‘s Return of the King would also win 11 Oscars.

Bernard Hill in LOTR.
Bernard Hill was due to attend a Comic Con on Saturday. Credit: New Line Cinema

Following the success of LOTR, Amazon Prime Video aired The Lords of The Ring: The Rings of Power in 2022 – to which Hill made his feelings clear.

In an interview with Metro, the actor slammed it as a ‘money-making venture’ and said he wasn’t interested in watching it.

“Good luck to them and all that stuff but it’s not like the real thing,” Hill added.

When asked whether LOTR should have ended after Peter Jackson wrapped his original trilogy, the star responded: “Completely, yes.”

Before Hill’s passing, the star was due to attend Comic Con on Saturday, however, it was announced he had withdrawn at the last minute because of his partner becoming ‘very ill’.

The X post added: “He sends his sincere apologies and thanks you all for your understanding. He sends his love to all of you and will see you all again soon at another Monopoly event.”

Hill’s agent told the PA news agency that he died in the early hours of Sunday morning, as per The Independent.

At the time of writing, the actor’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

The actor was due to return to TV screens in series two of The Responder, a BBC drama starring Martin Freeman. It began airing on Sunday.

Hill is survived by his fiancée, Alison, and son Gabriel, who he shares with ex-wife Marianna Hill.

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.