Home Technology Top Stories Business Most Featured Sports Social Issues Animals News Fashion Crypto Featured Music & Pop Culture Travel & Tourism

Renowned British Actor that Starred in Titanic Dies at 79

Author Avatar
By Erika John - - 5 Mins Read
Bernard Hill arriving for The hobbit Premiere, Odeon Leicester Square, London.
Bernard Hill | Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Bernard Hill, a celebrated British actor renowned for his outstanding performances in the movies, "Titanic" and two of the "Lord of the Rings" films, has passed away at the age of 79 on Sunday.

The actor's family released a statement announcing his demise, but they refrained from disclosing the cause or location of his death.

Hill received acclaim for his performances in various TV dramas, low-budget films, and theater productions.

However, he gained widespread recognition for portraying the captain in "Titanic" (1997) and the leader of a horsemen’s realm in the second and third "Lord of the Rings" films, "The Two Towers" (2002) and "The Return of the King" (2003).

According to The Manchester Evening News, in 2022, by starring in both "Titanic" and "The Return of the King," Hill became the first actor to appear in multiple films grossing over $1 billion.

He also holds the unique position of appearing in two out of three movies that won a record 11 Oscars, alongside "Ben-Hur."

In each of these films, Hill's robust physique, thick beard, and weathered appearance perfectly embodied characters of authority who initially faced danger with reluctance, then acceptance, and finally, self-sacrificial stoicism.

In "Titanic," Hill played Capt. Edward J. Smith directs the ship's speed with determination, a decision that ultimately plays a role in the tragic collision with an iceberg.

Upon hearing the news, Hill walks in a daze on the ship’s deck, his gaze distant.

Alone at the helm, he stands tall as water breaches the windows, accepting his fate. He goes down with his vessel, embodying the tragic fate of Capt. Smith.

Also read: Titanic Door that Saved Kate in 'Titanic' Sells Heavily in Auction


Benard Hill as Capt. Smith standing in the Dock of the Titanic
Bernard Hill as Capt. Smith in Titanic | YT


In "The Lord of the Rings," Hill played a more significant role as Théoden, the king of Rohan.

Initially weakened by the malevolent Saruman, he is rejuvenated by Gandalf, gradually embracing the necessity of confronting evil.

With weary determination, he leads the Rohirrim, his army's horsemen, to victory in a pivotal battle in "The Two Towers," but he meets his end while leading a charge in "The Return of the King."

His portrayals in "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings" showcased his ability to embody characters facing immense challenges with courage and resolve, leaving a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

However, despite his notable roles in those films, Mr. Hill's career extended far beyond them.

In an interview with The Oxford Student, he revealed that the role that had the most profound impact on his life was portraying Yosser Hughes, an unemployed Liverpool resident known for his tendency to head-butt, on British television in the early 1980s.

Bernard Hill was born on December 17, 1944, in Blackley, a small town near Manchester, England. His father worked as a miner, while his mother was employed in kitchens.

During his teenage years, Bernard worked in construction and had no connections to the acting world. However, he eventually decided to leave his job and attend drama school at Manchester Polytechnic, now known as Manchester Metropolitan University, where he graduated in 1970.

He made his debut with the role of Yosser Hughes in "The Black Stuff" (1980), which was a TV movie written by Alan Bleasdale specially created for him.

Hill is survived by his son, Gabriel, and his fiancée, Alison.