Bernard Hill is an English actor. He was born in Manchester, Lancashire, on 17 December 1944, the son of Irene (née Cowell) and Bernard Hill, a lorry driver. His younger brother is actor David Hill. Hill attended Xaverian College, Manchester, and then the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He started his acting career in repertory theatre in Manchester before moving to London in 1967.
Hill’s first television appearance was in Z-Cars in 1964. He also appeared as a soldier in the Doctor Who serial The War Games (1969). After appearing in several other television programmes, he made his film debut in the 1971 film Get Carter, starring Michael Caine. He went on to appear in a number of films, including The Omen (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Yentl (1983), The Bounty (1984), The Mission (1986), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), King Ralph (1991), and Titanic (1997).
Hill has appeared in many stage productions, including the original West End production of Equus (1973), for which he received a Tony Award nomination. He has also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Henry IV, Part 1 (1979) and Henry IV, Part 2 (1980).
Hill’s other film credits include The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), where he played the role of King Théoden, and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Hill has been married to actress Sheila Hancock since 1985. They have two daughters, Hannah and Rosie.
Hill was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2002 and was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to drama.
Manchester Metropolitan University, Xaverian College
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
British Academy Television Award for Best Actor, International Emmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor
Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Scorpion King, ParaNorman, Gothika, Shirley Valentine, The Ghost and the Darkness, Valkyrie, Drowning by Numbers, The Bounty, True Crime, The Boys from County Clare, Franklyn, Gandhi, Madagascar Skin, ...
Boys from the Blackstuff, Wild China, Wolf Hall, Five Days, Unforgotten, From There to Here, Sunshine, The Grid, India's Frontier Railways, Fox, Surviving Disaster, Telltale, Once Upon A Time In The North
His role of King Theoden was previously played by Jack May in the BBC Radio version of The Lord of the Rings. He and May appeared together in The Bounty (1984).
Believed while filming The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) that castmate Brad Dourif was actually English as Dourif never stopped using the accent. When Dourif finally began using his American accent Hill thought it was fake and accused Dourif of the worst fake accent he had ever heard.
Was considered for the role of Russell in Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen, which went to Terry Molloy.
Although his character Yosser Hughes in "Boys from the Blackstuff" (1982) is a Liverpool FC supporter and he appeared in a scene with actual Liverpool players Graeme Souness and Sammy Lee, Hill is a longtime supporter of their biggest rivals Manchester United FC.
In film, he has been on the final voyage of two famous ships: the Bounty (in the Mel Gibson film The Bounty (1984)) and the Titanic (as Captain Edward J. Smith in Titanic (1997)).
He has worked with two actors who played Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Sir Christopher Lee, with whom he appeared in the Lord of the Rings films, played the role in the film Jinnah (1998). The film Gandhi (1982), in which Hill appeared, featured Jinnah as a character, played by Alyque Padamsee.
He has been in three different versions of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". In the animated miniseries "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales", he voiced Nick Bottom. In the 1999 live-action movie, he played Egeus. In the English version of the 2005 animated Spanish film (English title: "Midsummer Dream"), he was the voice of Theseus.
He has had supporting roles in two of the seven most successful films of all time: Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). Both had made more than $1 billion worldwide; both won exactly 11 Oscars including Best Picture; and both are over three hours long.
In his commentary on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) Extended Edition DVD, he admits that during the course of shooting he first broke his sternum, then had his ear slashed open by a sword.