David Warner died at the age of 80:
His multifaceted career included roles in Titanic, Time Bandits, Straw Dogs, and Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company
David Warner worked in cinema, stage, television, and radio throughout his career. In addition to the role of Spicer Lovejoy in James Cameron’s Titanic, he was regarded as the best Hamlet of his generation on stage. He then moved into cinema as a character actor.
Warner’s family said he approached his diagnosis with grace and dignity over the past 18 months. He will be missed by us, his family and friends, and remembered as a kind-hearted, generous and compassionate man, partner and father whose legacy has touched the lives of many. “Our hearts are broken.”
His birth date is 1941, and he was born in Manchester, England. His parents were unmarried, and he spent time in their care, describing his childhood as “troubled” and “messy”. Russian-Jewish parents sent him to boarding schools throughout his childhood. During his teenage years, his mother mysteriously disappeared.
The renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London is where he studied after school. Warner was insecure about his acting ability and appearance from the beginning. His height (6 feet 2) and ranginess made him an unlikely leading man. When he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at age 21, he was cast as the lead in Karel Reisz’s critically acclaimed film Morgan, A Suitable Case For Treatment, and in 1965, the RSC cast him as Hamlet.
David Warner developed stage fright after a disastrous production of I, Claudius in 1973. Often playing villains in Terry Gilliams’ Time Bandits, time-travel sci-fi Time After Time, and groundbreaking computer adventure Tron, he specialized in film acting. He worked on three films with Sam Peckinpah: The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Straw Dogs, and Cross of Iron. Other notable performances include The Omen and The Man With Two Brains.
After moving to Hollywood in 1987, Warner lived there for 15 years. During that time, in addition to Titanic, he appeared on everything from Star Trek (he has played three different characters in the series) to Doctor Who and Twin Peaks. Even in his 70s, he was in high demand. In Mary Poppins Returns, a Disney remake, he played Admiral Boon. Also in 2005, he returned to the stage after a 40-year absence, playing King Lear in Chichester.