David Warner, a versatile British actor who appeared in everything from Shakespearean tragedies to sci-fi cult classics, is no more. He was 80. Warner died on Sunday at Denville Hall, a retirement home for entertainers in London. He died from a cancer-related illness, according to his family.
Warner was frequently cast as a villain, with roles in the 1971 psychological thriller Straw Dogs, the 1976 horror classic The Omen, the 1979 time-travel adventure Time After Time, and the blockbuster Titanic in 1997, in which he played the malicious valet Spicer Lovejoy.
Warner rose to prominence as a young member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing roles such as King Henry VI and King Richard II. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 1965, he played Hamlet in the title role for the company, directed by Peter Hall, and was regarded as one of the best of his generation.
Warner’s Hamlet, played as a tortured student, “seemed the epitome of 1960’s youth, and captured the radical spirit of a turbulent age,” according to Gregor Doran, the RSC’s emeritus artistic director. Warner also appeared in Hall’s 1968 film adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, alongside Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg.
Despite the fact that he was famous as a stage actor, Warner preferred film and television work for many years due to stage fright.
In 1966, he was nominated for a British Academy Film Award for his amazing performance as the title character in Karel Reisz’s Swinging London tragicomedy Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment. In 1981, he won an Emmy for his performance as Roman politician Pomponius Falco in the TV miniseries with the name-Masada.
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He had a prolific career both in films and television in both the United Kingdom and the United States.He became well-known to sci-fi fans for his roles in Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, the computer film Tron, Tim Burton’s remake of Planet of the Apes, and the Star Trek franchise, where he was seen in a variety of roles.
Warner returned to the stage almost three decades later, in 2001, to play Andrew Undershaft in a Broadway revival of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. He appeared in Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2005, and he returned to the RSC in 2007 to play Shakespeare’s comic buffoon Falstaff.
In Mary Poppins Returns, he played retired naval officer Admiral Boom, one of his final film roles.
Warner will be remembered “as a kind-hearted, generous, and compassionate man, partner, and as a father whose legacy of extraordinary work has touched the lives of a large number of people over the years,” according to his family.
“We are devastated,” the family said. Warner is survived by his wife Lisa Bowerman,his both children and “his good friend Jane Spencer Prior, his first wife Harriet Evans, and his many gold dust friends,” according to the statement.
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