Hollywood superstars are only as good in a movie as their co-stars. It is not uncommon for audiences to focus entirely on the main actors on screen, overlooking the performances of those who make the main characters convincing. Ray Stevenson was one of those second-tier actors who, despite sometimes playing quite small roles, knew how to bring out the best in his characters and enriched every film he appeared in.
Whether as Volstagg in the “Thor” films, as Scott Buxton in the huge Indian hit “RRR”, as Othere in “Vikings” , as Titus Pullo in “Rome” or as Isaak Sirko in “Dexter”: Stevenson needed only a few moments almost magically to attract the attention of the audience. The actor has died at 58, four days before his birthday, as several media report unanimously (via Variety).
As confirmed by his spokesman, Stevenson is said to have died already last Sunday on the Italian island of Ischia, where he was during the shooting of the film “Cassino in Ischia” by director Frank Ciota. No reason was given, but the actor was said to have been admitted to Rozzoli Hospital that Sunday morning and died shortly after (via SyFy). Three children survive Ray Stevenson.
Ray Stevenson’s last works with “Star Wars” series
George Raymond Stevenson was born on May 25, 1964, the son of a Royal Air Force pilot in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. The family later moved to England, where he attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. After a few small appearances in TV series, Stevenson made his film debut under Paul Greengrass (“Jason Bourne”) and alongside Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter as a gigolo in the romantic comedy “Of Flying and Other Dreams.”
But his height of 1.91 meters and his strikingly menacing appearance – although he could also appear extremely charming – were to establish him as the ideal actor for rather rough, stoic but good-natured types – and as a villain. Stevenson switched effortlessly between formats, starring in big and expensive event films like “King Arthur” and the “Destiny” movies just as confidently as in TV productions like “Rome” and “Black Sails.”
He also made a name for himself in B-movies, where he occasionally landed a leading role. For example, he slipped into the role of Punisher in the ultra-brutal “Punisher War Zone” for German director Lexi Alexander. His Frank Castle was merciless, terrifying and precise, not even Jon Bernthal can keep up. In the major German series “Das Boot” he took on the role of Commander Jack Swimburne.
In addition to “Cassino in Ischia,” Stevenson had two other projects that had already been shot: the historical film “1242 – Gateway to the West,” in which the plot revolves around the resistance of a Hungarian castle and its priest Eusebius against the Mongol army, and “Ahsoka. The “Star Wars” series, available on the Disney+ streaming service in August 2023, stars Stevenson as the Force-sensitive Baylan Skoll. He previously voiced Gar Saxon in the animated series “Star Wars Rebels” and “Star Wars: Clone Wars” in the U.S. original. “Ahsoka” would have been his “Star Wars” live-action debut.