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Actor David Warner, villain in ‘Titanic,’ ‘Tron’ and more, dies at 80

Actor David Warner, then with the Royal Shakespeare Company, tries on a crown in his dressing room on Jan. 11, 1964. (Fred Mott/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

David Warner, the veteran British actor who racked up more than 200 stage and screen credits, including films such as “Titanic,” “Tron” and “The Omen,” died Sunday of a cancer-related illness, his family said. He was 80 years old.

Warner’s career spanned six decades, from a star-making turn playing the title role in “Hamlet” with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1965, when he was just 24, to an array of villainous roles he depicted with characteristic aplomb. He was the Evil Genius in the 1981 film “Time Bandits,” and played a bad guy inside and outside a computer in “Tron” (1982), which pioneered the extensive use of computer animation. In “Titanic” (1997), he helps hunt down characters played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. (Warner had also appeared in a 1979 TV movie depicting the Titanic’s sinking — that time as a more innocuous science teacher.)

The range of his roles was as broad as his list of credits. In 1976, he played an ill-fated photographer in the horror film “The Omen,” and a year later was a German officer in “Cross of Iron.” Warner also appeared in the U.S. series “Twin Peaks,” and was well-known among Star Trek fans for portraying three different species in a three-year spell, across two films in the franchise and a TV series. His final film role was as a retired military officer in 2018’s “Mary Poppins Returns.”

‘Damien’: Bad Omen

Warner was born in 1941 in Manchester, England. His parents were not married, and he went from living with one to the other. His childhood was like “wading through glue and treacle,” Warner explained during one interview. His father changed jobs often, forcing Warner to attend eight different schools, and his mother disappeared from his life during his adolescence.

To his family, he was a loving husband and father. In a statement reported by the Associated Press, they said he would be 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,” the family said, adding that Warner is survived by his partner Lisa Bowerman, his son Luke, his daughter-in-law Sarah, “his good friend Jane Spencer Prior, his first wife Harriet Evans and his many gold dust friends.”

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