'We will never forget Yosser': Tributes paid to 'true legend' Bernard Hill

Bernard Hill has died at the age of 79
Bernard Hill has died at the age of 79 -Credit:Ian West/PA Wire

Tributes have flooded in for the actor Bernard Hill, best known for his role as Yosser Hughes in 'Boys from the Blackstufff', after he died at the age of 79.

Mr Hill was born in Manchester in December 1944 and his celebrated acting career spanned six decades. His breakout role came as the iconic Yosser Hughes in Alan Bleasdale's seminal 1982 TV drama 'Boys from the Blackstuff', which captured the struggles facing Liverpool in Margaret Thatcher's Britain.

He also starred in 'Shirley Valentine', written by Willy Russell, and was known for his role as Théoden, King of Rohan, in 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy, as well as Captain Edward Smith in James Cameron's 1997 smash hit 'Titanic'.

READ MORE: Boys from the Blackstuff star Bernard Hill dies at age of 79

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His agent Lou Coulson Associates confirmed to the ECHO that Mr Hill died in the early hours of this morning (May 5). Since the news of Mr Hill's passing was announced, many people from the world of drama and beyond have paid tribute to the actor.

Actress and musician Barbara Dickson, who starred with him in a musical based on The Beatles, was among those paying tribute, describing him as a “marvellous actor”. Alongside a photo of them together, she wrote: “It’s with great sadness that I note the death of Bernard Hill.

“We worked together in John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert, (by) Willy Russell marvellous show 1974-1975. A really marvellous actor. It was a privilege to have crossed paths with him. RIP Benny x

A spokesperson for Liverpool Film Office said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a true legend Bernard Hill. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time."

Mr Hill will appear in the second series of 'The Responder', written by Liverpudlian Tony Schumacher, which begins on BBC One tonight.

Paying tribute to the actor, Mr Schumacher wrote on X: "Bernard Hill was one of the reasons I'm doing the job that I do, so to bring him back to Liverpool, and to witness his incredible talent was such a privilege. He was a thoughtful and gentle man, and we became such good friends. I'll miss his calls and texts so much."

A spokesperson for Liverpool's Royal Court theatre, which is currently playing host to a stage adaptation of 'Boys from the Blackstuff' said: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Bernard Hill. An incredible actor and one forever tied to Liverpool through Yosser Hughes.

"Bernard shared a beautiful story about seeing Boys from the Blackstuff when he was filming The Responder, but in truth, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be showing this on the stage. In creating an iconic, unforgettable performance in Yosser Hughes, Bernard created a legend, an image and identity so close to that of Liverpool and our history."

Barry Sloane, the Garston-born actor who plays Yosser in the stage adaptation, said: “He was a true inspiration, his performance as Yosser touched the hearts of a nation, he bared his soul for us. He is the bedrock on which Yosser stands. I dedicate all future performances to Bernard. Sending much love to his family.”

The news of the actor's death comes 24 hours after it was announced he was unable to attend Comic Con in Liverpool. In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Comic Con Liverpool said: "We’re heartbroken to hear the news of Bernard Hill’s passing. A great loss. Thinking of his family at this very sad time, and wishing them a lot of strength."

On Facebook, Liverpool ECHO readers also paid tribute to Mr Hill in their droves.

Bev Green said: "All of us of a certain age will never forget Yosser". Valerie Fleet said: "Stand out performance in a stand out series. Never bettered. RIP Bernard."

Irene Preston said: "So sad. He was a brilliant actor. His performance as Yosser was inspired. Can still remember it as if it was yesterday."

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