Bernard Hill

From Tolkien Gateway
Bernard Hill
Biographical Information
Lifetime17 December, 1944 - 5 May, 2024
PortrayedThéoden in:
The Lord of the Rings (film series)

British actor Bernard Hill (17 December 1944 - 5 May 2024) played Théoden in The Lord of the Rings (film series).


Hill was born in Manchester, where he attended the Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama. He made his screen debut in 1973, and gained some fame as unemployed Scouser Yosser Hughes in The Black Stuff and its sequel, Boys from the Black Stuff. Before that, he had made minor appearances in BBC series, including I, Claudius (which boasts many great actors, including Brian Blessed, Christopher Guard, Norman Shelley, John Hurt, John Rhys-Davies and Derek Jacobi in the title role).

A steady career with few peaks followed. He had a minor role in Gandhi and a remarkable bigger one as Captain Smith in Titanic in 1997.

Hill's appearance in both the Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King make him the only actor to have appeared in more than one of the three films awarded 11 Oscars (the third being Ben Hur) and one of only three actors to have starred in more than one film grossing more than $1 billion USD (another one being Orlando Bloom who also starred in The Return of the King, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean). Both movies (and Gandhi) have won Best Picture.

The irony that he died in both led to some jokes about having to kill Bernard Hill in order to clear a billion.

His birthday coincides with the premiere of The Return of the King.



The ensemble qualities of this award go way beyond the cast I think. I think everyone here realizes that we sit atop a kind of pyramid of talent, we actors. Because we can't do what we do without the whole structure beneath us, and I think we're all very aware of that, and very appreciative of the producers, the writers, the directors, and the make-up people, and the people who arrange the trailers in a circle and keep them warm for us in the morning, and make sure that we've got coffee and tea and things that keep us going during the day, and all that kind of stuff.

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