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Popular Actor Dies at 79

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Respected character actor Bernard Hill, born December 17, 1944, recognized for his prominent roles in numerous films of the late 1990s and early 2000s, has died at 79, as confirmed by multiple sources.

Hill’s agent, Lou Coulson, verified his passing, which took place on Sunday morning, May 5. News of his death was shared on social media by friends and former colleagues, including actress Barbara Dickson.

Hill’s career in film and television began in the early 1970s with appearances in popular British series like “Rooms,” “Village Hall,” and “Crown Court.” His portrayal of Yosser Hughes, a troubled father in the television miniseries “Boys From The Blackstuff” in the 1980s, brought him into the spotlight and earned him one of his two BAFTA nominations.

American viewers might particularly remember Hill for his later roles, such as Captain Edward Smith in James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic,” and King Theoden in the second and third films of the “Lord of the Rings” series. His substantial filmography also includes Clint Eastwood’s “True Crime,” “Wimbledon,” and “Paranorman,” among others.

Hill’s final performance will appear in the forthcoming season of “The Responder,” featuring Martin Freeman, which is slated to premiere this week.

Alan Bleasdale, who penned “Boys From The Blackstuff,” expressed his sorrow over Hill’s death, lauding his mesmerizing performance as Yosser Hughes. Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama, also paid homage to Hill, acknowledging his legendary roles and his significant contribution to the industry.

Hill’s notable performance in “Boys from the Blackstuff” secured him a BAFTA in 1983, and the series was ranked seventh on the British Film Institute’s list of the greatest TV shows ever produced. His role as the Duke of Norfolk in the 2015 drama series “Wolf Hall” was also highly commended.

Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd, who played the hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin in the Lord of the Rings series, paid a tribute to their colleague at Comic-Con in Liverpool.

Astin began the tribute with heartfelt words, saying, “He held a special place in our hearts. He was fearless, humorous, tough, and wonderfully complex. His spirit was a beacon.”

Boyd, while reminiscing on watching the trilogy with Monaghan, said, “No one else could breathe life into Tolkien’s words quite like Bernard. He touched my soul deeply. His absence will be profoundly felt.”

Alan Bleasdale, the creator of Boys from The Blackstuff, referred to Hill’s passing as not only “a profound loss but also an unexpected one.”

“The role was a compelling and hypnotic one, with Bernard pouring his soul into it. His portrayal of Yosser Hughes was magnetic.”

Hill, who was initially scheduled to appear at Comic Con Liverpool on Saturday, had to withdraw unexpectedly, as announced by the event organizers. After his death was confirmed, the event planners expressed their deep sorrow over Hill’s demise on the same platform, extending their deepest sympathies and wishing his family strength during this difficult time.

At his bedside when he passed were his fiancee Alison and his son, Gabriel.

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