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Bernard Hill (1944)

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  Summary  

Bernard Hill is a British actor of film, stage and television. In a career spanning thirty years, he is best known for playing Yosser Hughes, the troubled 'hard man' whose life is falling apart in Alan Bleasdale's groundbreaking 1980s TV drama, Boys from the Blackstuff. He is also known for a number of iconic roles in blockbuster films, including Captain Edward John Smith in Titanic, King Théoden in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and as the Warden of San Quentin Prison in the Clint Eastwood film True Crime. Hill is the only actor to have appeared in more than one of the three films awarded 11 Oscars, and one of only six actors to have starred in more than one film grossing more than $1 billion USD, namely: Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (the others being Orlando Bloom who also starred in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean, Gary Oldman who starred in The Dark Knight as well as appearing in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally for two of the Pirates of the Carribean films and Johnny Depp who also starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as Alice in Wonderland). Hill has appeared in three films which have won Best Picture: Gandhi, Titanic, and The Return of the King.

  Biography  

 early life
Hill was born in Blackley, Manchester, England. He attended Xaverian College although at the time it was known as "Xaverian School", and then Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama at the same time as Richard Griffiths. He graduated with a diploma in theatre in 1970.

 career
 Boys from the Blackstuff
Hill first came to prominence in Britain through his Yosser Hughes, a Liverpool working class man ultimately driven to the edge by an uncaring system, in Alan Bleasdale's BBC Play for Today, The Black Stuff and its more famous series sequel , Boys from the Blackstuff. His character's much-repeated phrase Gizza job ("Give us a job") became popular with protesters against Margaret Thatcher's government, because of the high unemployment of the time.

With his bemused brood of kids never let out of his sight, Bernard Hill's powerful depiction of a man crumbling before the audience's eyes brought him numerous awards but, as he later revealed, almost "drove him to the edge of insanity".

 Other works
Hill then appeared as Sergeant Putnam in Gandhi , directed by Richard Attenborough. Though Hill didn’t figure prominently in the cast, he benefited from being part of an Oscar-winning film. Next up for Hill was Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty , a fourth dramatisation of the famed mutiny on HMS Bounty.

He had previously taken smaller parts in a number of British television dramas, appearing as the no-nonsense soldier of Caligula's bodyguard, who, after the assassination of that emperor Gratus in the acclaimed I, Claudius, and as Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York in the BBC's 1982 productions of Shakespeare's Henry VI plays.

In 1985, he played the lead role in a TV dramatisation of John Lennon's life, A Journey in the Life. In addition to TV roles, Hill appeared on stage in The Cherry Orchard, and the title roles in Macbeth and A View from the Bridge.

Hill starred alongside acting greats, including Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier and Daniel Day-Lewis, as well as Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson. Hill then received critical acclaim for his performance as Joe Bradshaw in Shirley Valentine , about a Liverpool housewife who was a former anti-establishment rebel and engages in an extramarital affair. Hill added more prominent films to his resume, including Mountains of the Moon , Skallagrigg and Madagascar Skin .

In the mid-1990s, Hill began appearing in films more regularly. His first major role in The Ghost and the Darkness , starring Val Kilmer as a bridge-building engineer who must trust a big game hunter despite their mutual animosity. Hill then went down with the ship when he played Captain E.J. Smith on the ill-fated RMS Titanic , by James Cameron, whom Hill got along with quite well - an experience most working on the film did not have. Being in the biggest grossing film of all time attracted attention to his career, as Hill became more sought-after for more prominent parts.

Hill played Philos in The Scorpion King , starring The Rock, Michael Clarke Duncan and Kelly Hu.

Hill became known to a worldwide audience when he was cast in the role of King Théoden of Rohan in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy based on Tolkien's novel of the same name. Before casting him as King Théoden, director Peter Jackson considered Hill for the part of Gandalf. When he was due to leave the set at the end of production, Jackson gave Hill two gifts, Théoden's helmet and sword Herugrim.

At the 2006 BAFTA TV Awards and International Emmy Award, Hill was nominated for his portrayal of David Blunkett in the one-off satirical drama, A Very Social Secretary.

More recently, he held a minor role in the 2008 film Valkyrie, as the commanding general of the German Afrika Korp X Panzer Division, and as a voice actor for Sir Walter Beck in Fable III .

Hill has been the narrator in many television documentaries.

Due to his affinity and links to the region, along with his extensive CV in film, Hill was recently announced as a new patron and judge of the Norwich Film Festival, due to be held in March 2012.

 personal life
Hill currently lives in Suffolk. He is married, and has a son named Gabriel.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Bernard Hill", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.