David Warner, a UK character actor best known for his roles in “Titanic” and “The Omen,” died Sunday from a “cancer-related illness.” He was 80 years old.
The veteran thespian’s family confirmed his passing “with an overwhelmingly heavy heart” in a statement to the BBC.
“Over the past 18 months he approached his diagnosis with a characteristic grace and dignity,” they wrote. “He will be missed hugely by us, his family and friends, and remembered as a kind-hearted, generous and compassionate man, partner and father, whose legacy of extraordinary work has touched the lives of so many over the years. We are heartbroken.”
At the time of his death, Warner was residing at Denville Hal in Northwood, a care home for figures in the entertainment industry.
Born in Manchester in 1941, the dramatist is perhaps most famous for his role in James Cameron’s 1997 romantic epic “Titanic,” in which he portrayed Spicer Lovejoy, the villainous henchman of Billy Zane’s Pittsburgh steel tycoon Cal Hockley.
He was also known for appearing in the 1976 horror classic “The Omen” as photographer Keith Jennings, who gets his head chopped off by a pane of glass.
Warner addressed the iconic scene in the 2010 BBC program “A History Of Horror.” Host Mark Gatiss had asked Warner whatever happened to his severed head, whereupon, without missing a beat, he quipped: “I lost it in the divorce.”
Warner, who was primarily cast in villainous roles, also appeared in “Tron” (1982), “Little Malcolm” (1974), “Time Bandits” (1981), “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981), “The Man with Two Brains” (1983) and the 1964 Best Picture winner “Tom Jones.” In his final credited role, the actor starred in the 2018 sequel “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Not just a force on the big screen, the Brit boasted a smorgasbord of TV roles, including “Penny Dreadful,” “Ripper Street,” “Star Trek,” “Doctor Who,” the original “Twin Peaks” and “Masada” (1981), for which he an Emmy for best supporting actor in a limited series or special.
The Rada-trained Warner also enjoyed an illustrious stage career, garnering widespread acclaim for his title roles in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Henry VI” and “Hamlet” early in his career.
Warner is survived by partner Lisa Bowerman, son Luke and daughter-in-law Sarah, his good friend Jane Spencer Prior, his first wife Harriet Evans and many other friends.