Veteran British actor David Warner has died aged 80
The legendary British actor David Warner passed away at the age of 80. Warner’s family reportedly acknowledged the news “with an enormously heavy heart” after learning of his death from “a cancer-related ailment,” according to the BBC. Radio, television, the theatre, and film all had a part in Warner’s eclectic career. Before he became a character actor in movies, he was known as the best Hamlet of his time on the stage. He started out in British 1960s cinema before moving on to the sci-fi settings of Tron, Doctor Who, and Star Trek before appearing in James Cameron’s Titanic as the evil enforcer Spicer Lovejoy.
In 1941, Warner was born in Manchester. His childhood was “troubled” and “messy,” as he spent time being raised by both of his single parents. His Jewish-Russian father enrolled him in a string of residential schools. He admitted that when he was a teenager, his mother vanished from his life. He pursued his education at London’s esteemed Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts after finishing school. At first, Warner was self-conscious about his acting talent and appearance. Being rangy and tall (6 feet 2), he never saw himself as a leading man. However, after joining the Royal Shakespeare Company at the age of 21, he was chosen to play the lead role in Morgan, A Suitable Case for Treatment, a critically praised film by Karel Reisz, and the RSC selected him as Hamlet in 1965.
Warner experienced stage fright during a failed staging of I, Claudius in 1973. He specialized in film acting and frequently played villains, such as in Terry Gilliams’ Time Bandits, Time After Time, and the groundbreaking computer adventure Tron. He collaborated with Sam Peckinpah on three movies: Cross of Iron, Straw Dogs, and The Ballad of Cable Hogue. The Omen and The Man With Two Brains both played important roles, among others.
In 1987, Warner relocated to Hollywood, where he remained for 15 years. He appeared in a variety of US television shows during that time, including Star Trek (where he portrayed three different characters), Doctor Who, Twin Peaks, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in addition to Titanic. He was still in demand in his 70s. In the latest Disney remake of Mary Poppins Returns, he plays Admiral Boon. He also had a stage comeback in 2005, playing King Lear in Chichester, following a 40-year layoff.