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Actor Bernard Hill, Of ‘Titanic’ And ‘Lord Of The Rings,’ Passes Away At 79


Actor Bernard Hill, renowned for his stirring portrayal of characters such as the valiant Théoden in “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and the steadfast Captain Edward Smith in “Titanic,” has died.

At 79 years old, Hill’s agent, Lou Coulson, confirmed his death on Sunday morning.

Hill’s association with “The Lord Of The Rings” franchise began in the trilogy’s second installment, 2002′s “The Two Towers,” where he depicted the noble Théoden, King of Rohan. The subsequent year, he reprised this role in “Return of the King,” a cinematic masterpiece that clinched 11 Oscars.

“Arise, arise, riders of Théoden!” Hill hollers. “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!”

One of the film’s iconic moments features Hill’s character delivering a rallying cry from horseback, igniting his troops and leading them into battle, ultimately meeting his own fate.

In “Titanic,” Hill embodied the role of Captain Edward Smith, one of the few characters based on real individuals in the 1997 epic romance. This film also claimed 11 Academy Awards.

As the ill-fated vessel succumbs to the sea’s onslaught, Hill’s character retreats silently to the wheelhouse. With the cabin under immense pressure, he takes his final breath, grasping the wheel as water floods in.

Hill initially gained prominence as Yosser Hughes in “Boys From the Blackstuff,” a 1982 British TV miniseries depicting the struggles of five unemployed men.

His portrayal earned him a nomination for a 1983 British Academy of Film and Television Arts award, while the series itself secured the BAFTA for best drama series.

His passing coincided with the scheduled airing of the second series of the BBC drama “The Responder,” in which he portrayed the father of the show’s lead, Martin Freeman.

“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, said Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama. “Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time.”

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