May 21, 2024

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Bernard Hill, actor of “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings”, dies at the age of 79

Bernard Hill, actor of “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings”, dies at the age of 79

Bernard Hale, the British actor who embodied a modest style of masculine leadership in three hugely successful Hollywood films, “Titanic” and two films in the “Lord of the Rings” series, died on Sunday. He was 79 years old.

His death was announced in a family statement sent by a representative of British talent agency Lou Coulson Associates. He did not mention his place of death or provide a cause.

Mr. Hill has won critical acclaim for his work in serious television dramas, small-budget films, and theatre. But he is best known for his role as the captain of the ship in the movie “Titanic” (1997) and the ruler of the Kingdom of the Knights in the second and third parts of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Two Towers” ​​(2002) and “The Two Towers” ​​(2002). “The Return of the King” (2003).

With his appearances in “Titanic” and “The Return of the King,” Mr. Hill became the first actor to star in more than one film grossing more than $1 billion and the only actor to appear in two of the three films to win a record. 11 Oscars (the third is “Ben-Hur”), Manchester Evening News mentioned In 2022.

In each film, his powerful build, bushy mustache, and angsty visage helped him embody men in power who faced danger with hesitation, then acceptance, and finally with self-sacrificing stoicism.

In the movie “Titanic”, he played the role of Captain Edward J. Smith. Early in the film, he grabs the ship’s railing, looks out to sea and asks one of his crew to increase the ship’s speed, saying, “Let’s stretch her legs.” The film eventually suggests that the ship’s unnecessary speed was a factor in its fatal collision with an iceberg.

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After hearing the bad news, Mr. Hale walked in a daze on deck, his eyes lost in the middle distance, and the regalia of his captain’s uniform became ridiculous. He walks alone to the helm and stands there upright as water blasts through the windows, ensuring he goes down with his ship.

He had a prominent role in the film “The Lord of the Rings”, as Theoden, King of Rohan. Initially afflicted with premature aging and weakness due to the connivance of the evil wizard Saruman, he was restored to vitality by the good wizard Gandalf.

He gradually awakens to the need to fight Saruman, repeating phrases of weary resolution such as “Let them come” and “So it begins.” He leads the Rohirrim, the knights of his army, in a victorious battle in The Two Towers, but dies leading an attack under similar circumstances in The Return of the King.

But his fame in those films did not reflect the breadth of his career. Speaking to The Oxford Student, a university newspaper, Mr. Hill He said The role that changed his life was one that few Americans had ever heard of: Yosser Hughes, an unemployed Liverpool resident with a penchant for head-butting, on British television in the early 1980s.

Bernard Hill was born on December 17, 1944 in Blakely, a small town outside Manchester, England. His father was a miner, and his mother worked in the kitchens.

As a teenager, Bernard worked in construction and didn’t know any actors, but he ended up quitting his job and going to drama school at Manchester Polytechnic (now known as Manchester Metropolitan University). He graduated in 1970.

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He first played the role of User Hughes in “The Black Stuff” (1980), a television movie written by Alan Blaisdell, for whom he wrote the role of Mr. Hale. Mr. Hill asked the writer what the character was like. “Well, he’s the guy who goes and smashes meat and potato pies on his head and hits lampposts!” Mr. Blaisdell said in response, Mr. Hill recalled in a 2002 BBC interview.

The character, which Mr. Hill reprized in a 1982 miniseries called “Boys From the Blackstuff,” caught British audiences on fire for his comic pathos as he tried to support his three children alone and without a job. He was particularly identified with a phrase that came to symbolize anger at Margaret Thatcher’s austerity policies, uttered in Liverpool slang: “Jeza’s job. Go on, Geza’s job. I can do it.”

When Mr. Hill’s work as User Hughes appeared on American television in 1987, the New York Times television critic John J. O’Connor described his performance as “a powerful force, his eyes constantly conveying Yosser’s endless desperation and endless panic.” “.

Around the same time, the Times also praised Mr. Hill for playing a seedy nightclub bouncer with “a wonderful emptiness” in “No Surrender,” the 1986 film for which Mr. Blaisdell also wrote the screenplay.

Mr. Hill’s survivors include his fiancée, Allison, and his son, Gabriel.

When the BBC asked this miner’s son about the “magic” of the Lord of the Rings premiere, he demurred.

“Well, it’s like running a marathon in a fur coat,” he said. “It’s hard work, but it looks charming from the outside.”

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