Veteran British actor David Warner, star of The Omen and Tron, dies aged 80

Veteran British actor David Warner has died at the age of 80. The BBC reported that Warner died of “a cancer-related illness” and that his family confirmed the news “with an overwhelmingly heavy heart”.

Warner’s varied career spanned film, stage, television and radio. Regarded as the best Hamlet of his generation on stage, he later gravitated to film as a character actor, traveling from 1960s British cinema to the sci-fi universes of Tron, Doctor Who and Star Trek to in James Cameron’s Titanic, in which he played. malicious enforcer Spicer Lovejoy.

In a statement to the BBC, Warner’s family said: “Over the past 18 months he approached his diagnosis with characteristic grace and dignity… He will be greatly missed by us, his family and friends, and the we will be remembered as a kind hearted and generous. and compassionate man, partner and father whose legacy of extraordinary work has touched the lives of so many people over the years. We are heartbroken.”

Warner was born in Manchester in 1941. His parents were unmarried and he spent time in the care of both, describing his childhood as “troubled” and “messy”. His Russian Jewish father sent him to a succession of boarding schools. His mother disappeared from his life when he was a teenager, he revealed.

After school he studied at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. From the beginning, Warner was unsure of her acting ability and her looks. Tall (6ft 2) and tall, he never imagined himself as a leading man. But after joining the Royal Shakespeare Company, aged 21, he was cast as Morgan in Karel Reisz’s critically acclaimed A Suitable Case For Treatment, and the RSC chose him as Hamlet in 1965.

Warner’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s prince as a proto-student radical horrified traditional critics, but resonated with younger audiences. “When I was a kid and saw Shakespeare, I never heard the actors because of all the posturing and declamation,” he later said. “I thought that kids today were probably the same as me, not wanting Shakespeare shoved down their throats. I wanted to bring them back again, of their own accord.”

David Warner, left, with Gregory Peck in The Omen Photograph: Ronald Grant

After a disastrous production of I, Claudius in 1973 Warner developed stage fright. He focused on film acting and often played villains, such as in Terry Gilliams’ Time Bandits, the time travel sci-fi Time After Time, and the pioneering computer adventure Tron. He worked with Sam Peckinpah in three films: The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Straw Dogs and Cross of Iron. Other significant roles include The Omen and The Man With Two Brains.

Warner moved to Hollywood in 1987, where he lived for 15 years. During this time, as well as Titanic, he was a regular on American television, appearing in everything from Star Trek (he played three different characters in the franchise) to Doctor Who, Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen Apocalypse. At the age of 70 he was still in high demand. He recently played Admiral Boon in Disney’s revival of Mary Poppins Returns. In 2005 he also returned to the stage to play King Lear in Chichester.

This article was amended on 25 July 2022. Warner’s acting credits included The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, not The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as an earlier version stated.

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