Emmy Award winner and sci-fi icon David Warner has passed away at age 80. Warner’s family said he died from a cancer-related illness on Sunday at Denville Hall, a retirement home for entertainers in London.
David Hattersley Warner was born on July 29, 1941 in Manchester, Lancashire, England and graduated from Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1961. Warner made his professional stage debut at the Royal Court Theatre in January 1962, playing Snout, a minor role in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1963 and continued to act in Shakespearean plays while he also pursued a career in film and television.
Warner eventually transitioned from stage to screen and made a name for himself playing villains, like the villainous Blifil in Tom Jones, Warner’s 1963 film debut.
Warner would go on to play Jack the Ripper in Time After Time and Ed Dillinger in Tron. Warner would continue to build his impressive resume on both stage and screen, seemingly finding his niche in the world of sci-fi appearing in or voicing characters in projects such as TRON, The Man with Two Brains, Frankenstein, My Best Friend Is a Vampire, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon 5, Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Men in Black: The Series, Doctor Who: Dreamland, and Teen Titans Go!
In addition to his sci-fi roles, Warner also appeared in Titanic and Mary Poppins Returns. One of his most notable appearances was in Star Trek: The Next Generation when he played Gul Madred in two episodes with Sir Patrick Stewart where Gul Madred mercilessly tortured Captain Jean-Luc Picard asking him repeatedly how many lights he could see while showing him 4 lights, but demanding that he tells him that Picard could see 5 lights. The torture continued through the two episodes, but the Gul couldn’t break Picard and he left the torture chamber telling Gul Madred that there were four lights.
Even with this many credits, Warner’s most memorable role may have been as photographer Keith Jennings in the classic horror film The Omen, where he meets a gruesome end.
Warner appeared in so many projects and touched many lives. Many took to social media to pay their respects:
Warner is survived by his partner Lisa Bowerman, his son Luke, daughter-in-law Sarah, his good friend Jane Spencer Prior, his first wife Harriet Evans and his “many gold dust friends.”