English actor David Warner, whose reluctance to say no to anything made him one of the most prolific actors of his generation — and whose skill made him one of the most revered — died Sunday.
He was 80.
Warner's family told the BBC he died in a London nursing home devoted to helping aging performers. They said, "Over the past 18 months, he approached his diagnosis with a characteristic grace and dignity. 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.”
Born July 29, 1941, in Manchester, England, Warner studied acting early on at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
He made his stage debut in 1962, and became a member of the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company ahead of his long, illustrious career on TV and in film.
After making his debut on TV in 1963, he made his film debut the same year in Tom Jones. It was his first — though hardly his last! — memorable role as a villain.
Starring in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Impeachment aka Morgan! in 1966, he secured a BAFTA nomination.
Early-career performances includes in the films Work Is a Four Letter Word (1968), The Fixer (1968), The Sea Gull (1968), The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), and (uncredited) Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971).
The Omen (1976) was a highlight, affording Warner's character — a good guy among ancient evil — one of the most shocking death scenes ever filmed. Perhaps his juiciest villainous role was in the 1979 sci-fi chase film Time After Time, in which he played a time-traveling Jack the Ripper being pursued through '70s San Francisco by a H.G. Wells (Malcom McDowell).
"Ninety years ago, I was a freak," his character noted dryly. "Today, I'm an amateur."
Showing up in innumerable TV miniseries, Warner played Evil Genius in Time Bandits (1981), was a major part of Disney cult favorite Tron (1982), showed off his comedy chops in The Man with Two Brains (1983); appeared as three different species in the Star Trek multiverse in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), and two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992); was on Twin Peaks (1991), and enjoyed the greatest exposure of his career in 1997, when he was both heartless Spicer Lovejoy in Titanic and a teacher in Scream 2.
His last TV appearance was on The Alienist in 2018, and he ended his film career after playing Admiral Bloom in Mary Poppins Returns (2018). Making that film, he charmed co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who remembered him warmly on Twitter.
Married and divorced twice, Warner is survived by his partner — actress-director Lisa Bowerman — and his son.