Bernard Hill Has Passed Away

Bernard Hill Has Passed Away

( – Actor Bernard Hill has died at age 79. The British star, known for his roles as Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 smash hit Titanic and King Théoden in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, died surrounded by loved ones, his agent told the BBC. Lord of the Rings co-stars Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd all paid tribute to the actor. No cause of death was explained.

Born in Manchester, England, in 1944, Hill grew up in a Catholic family of working-class miners. After graduating from the Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama, he won his first major role in the BBC’s Boys from the Blackstuff, where he played an unemployed Liverpool man trying to navigate the British welfare system. His catchphrase “Gizza job” was employed by anti-Thatcher activists in the 1980s, who blamed the then-Prime Minister for unemployment rates and the closure of mines in the north of England.

His Titanic character, Captain Edward Smith, was one of the few characters in the movie based on a real person. Edward J. Smith was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, in 1850 and started his seafaring life as a teenager. In 1880, he joined the White Star Line and commanded his first ship seven years later. In 1912, he took the helm of the Titanic and captained the ship on its ill-fated maiden voyage to New York. Smith died at sea when the vessel sank in the North Atlantic.

Titanic would win several Oscars, and when Lord of the Rings: Return of the King swept the board in 2004, Bernard Hill became the first actor to star in two movies that won 11 Oscars each.

In an interview in 2022, Hill said he was surprised by Titanic’s success, saying, “It didn’t seem iconic from my point of view.” He described researching Captain Smith and his desire to do justice and pay tribute to the historic personality.

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