Monday brought the news of the unexpected death of Irish-born actor Ray Stevenson in Italy this weekend. He was only 58.
The veteran performer was known for his array of tough-guy roles in both television and film. He appeared in 1998 drama The Theory of Flight but made a major impression in 2004’s King Arthur and then appeared in the 2005-2007 series Rome as Titus Pullo.
In 2008 he took over the role of Frank Castle in the third version of Marvel’s The Punisher. A go-to for hardened bad-guys (and some questionable good guys), he went on to appear in The Book of Eli, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Three Musketeers, the Divergent movies and played Volstagg in Marvel’s Thor franchise as well as another period-warrior, Othere, in the History Channel’s Vikings. He also starred opposite Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken in 2011’s Kill the Irishman. Other roles included Blackbeard on Starz’s Black Sails and appearances in shows such as Murphy’s Law, Dexter, Crossing Lines, Medici and The Spanish Princess.
His most recent role was as the evil Governor Scott Buxton in the Indian action drama RRR and he had been cast in upcoming western 1242: Gateway to the West, a role for which he took over from Kevin Spacey.
After voicing the role of Gar Saxon in the animated arm of the Star Wars universe (in the series The Clone Wars and Rebels) he was due to appear in the upcoming live-action Ahsoka as a corrupted Jedi named Baylan Skoll, who turns to the dark side and had been seen in the trailer for the show. It is not known whether Stevenson’s death will affect the extent of that role, but it appears to have been in the process of editing, so his scenes were likely complete.
Stevenson would have celebrated his 59th birthday on 25th May. At this point, his cause of death has not been announced.