Bernard Hill: Hollywood actors including Dominic Monaghan pays tribute to Lord Of The Rings star who has died

Specker Francis Specker/PA Wire
Tributes have flowed in to Hollywood actor Bernard Hill who died a day after he was supposed to appear at an event with colleagues.

Dominic Monaghan has said his Lord Of The Rings co-star Bernard Hill has “passed to the grey havens”, as he paid tribute to the actor following his death aged 79. Hill played King Theoden alongside Monaghan’s Merry Brandybuck in the two later films of the Oscar-winning fantasy franchise directed by Sir Peter Jackson. The actor, who was also known for his roles in Titanic, Boys From The Blackstuff and Wolf Hall, died in the early hours of Sunday, his agent said.

Monaghan posted a photo of Hill backdropped by a lilac sky on Instagram and wrote: “The Broken king has passed to the grey havens but he will always be remembered. #ripbernard.”

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Hill joined the Lord Of The Rings cast for the second film in the trilogy, 2002’s The Two Towers, which won two Academy Awards for best sound editing and best visual effects. He returned to the franchise for 2003’s The Return Of The King, which picked up 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director for Sir Peter. Hill first made a name for himself as Yosser Hughes in Alan Bleasdale’s BBC drama series Boys From The Blackstuff, which aired in 1982 about five unemployed men. The role earned him a Bafta TV nomination in 1983, the same year the show picked up the Bafta for best drama series.

He went on to play Captain Edward Smith in the Oscar-winning 1997 epic romance Titanic, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. In the 2015 BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall, about the court of Henry VIII, he played the Duke of Norfolk, uncle to Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. He also stars in the second series of BBC drama The Responder starring Martin Freeman, which is due to air on Sunday. The BBC described him as an “incredible talent” who “blazed a trail across the screen” during his career.

Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama, said: “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. From Boys From The Blackstuff, to Wolf Hall, The Responder, and many more, we feel truly honoured to have worked with Bernard at the BBC. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time.”

His other credits included Clint Eastwood’s film True Crime, 1989 rom-com Shirley Valentine, the 1999 film adaptation of Great Expectations and 2002’s The Scorpion King starring Dwayne Johnson. Actress and singer Barbara Dickson, who starred with him in a musical based on the Beatles, was among those paying tribute, describing him as a “marvellous actor”.

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Alongside a photo of them together, she wrote: “It’s with great sadness that I note the death of Bernard Hill. We worked together in John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert, (by) Willy Russell marvellous show 1974-1975. A really marvellous actor. It was a privilege to have crossed paths with him. RIP Benny x

Hill was due to attend Comic Con in Liverpool on Saturday but the event announced on the day that he had to withdraw at the last minute because of his partner becoming “very ill”.

The post on X added: “He sends his sincere apologies and thanks you all for you understanding. He sends his love to all of you and will see you all again soon at another Monopoly event.” The event said they were “heartbroken” and that they would be thinking of his family at this “very sad time”.

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