Bernard Hill has passed away. He was 79 years old. According to reports, he passed away peacefully early on Sunday morning.

Hill is perhaps best known for his performance as Rohan’s leader King Theoden in the second and third movies in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also played Captain Edward Smith in James Cameron’s Titanic.


Hill was born in Blackley, Manchester, England in December 1944. He was brought up in a Catholic family of miners and attended Xaverian College, and then Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama at the same time as Richard Griffiths. He graduated with a diploma in theatre in 1970.

Hill first came to prominence as Yosser Hughes, a working-class Liverpudlian man in Alan Bleasdale’s BBC Play for Today programme, The Black Stuff, and it’s series sequel, Boys from the Blackstuff. His character’s much-repeated phrase Gizza job (“Give us a job“) became popular with protesters against Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms.

Hill then appeared as Sergeant Putnam in Gandhi (1982), directed by Richard Attenborough, then Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty (1984)

On television, he had previously appeared as Gratus in I, Claudius.

Hill appeared as Joe Bradshaw in Shirley Valentine (1989), Mountains of the Moon (1990), Skallagrigg (1994), and Madagascar Skin (1995).


Before appearing in Titanic, he starred in The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) alongside Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. Directly before The Two Towers, he played Philos in The Scorpion King (2002) alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Hill will be on British television one more time, alongside Martin Freeman in the BBC drama series The Responder, which is screening now.

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