Actor Ray Stevenson has died at age 58, just days before his 59th birthday DailyMail.com can confirm.
The Northern Irish thespian was known for starring in a string of action and fantasy films including Marvel’s Thor movies, Punisher: War Zone, King Arthur, and the upcoming Star Wars based Ahsoka series.
No cause of death has been revealed, but the Italian newspaper Republica reported the actor went to a hospital a few days before his death, after feeling unwell.
It’s believed he was working on the film Cassino in Ischia where he was set to star as a disgraced action star struggling with reviving his career and the consequences of leaving his family for fame.
Stevenson died on Sunday, his rep said.
Ray Stevenson dies at 58: Irish actor starred in Marvel’s Thor movies and the upcoming Star Wars based series Ahsoka (Pictured in London in April)
The actor was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland May 25, 1964, the second of three sons to a Royal Air Force pilot and his wife.
The family moved to England when he was eight.
As an adult he enrolled in the Bristol Old Vic Theater School, graduating at age 29.
After making guest appearance in various television shows, and TV movies, Ray made his big screen debut in 1998’s The Theory of Flight, as a gigolo, starring opposite Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter.
He obtained steady work afterward appearing in various British TV series.
The 6’3″ actor’s commanding presence landed him the part of Dagonet in 2004’s King Arthur, opposite another up-and-coming actor, Clive Owen.
After that, he began to win more action parts, playing a burly soldier with a heart of gold in the Emmy winning mini-series Rome, and later as action hero Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone.
In a 2008 interview with Collider, the classically trained actor said he wasn’t familiar with the comic on which the character is based.
The 6’3″ actor’s commanding presence parts in 2004’s King Arthur, and as a burly soldier with a heart of gold the mini-series Rome, and later as action hero Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone
The vibrant star got to show his tough yet loyal side in Thor as a Volstag, a member of the Warriors Three, Ray went on to reprise the role in Thor: The Dark World and in Thor: Ragnarok
‘In all fairness, when I first read it, I thought, “This is just extremely violent. What the hell is this?”‘
Referring to the character, he explained ‘You don’t want to be Frank. It’s strange to have the sort of lead or hero of a film that you don’t actually want to be. That’s what intrigued me.’
The actor was adamant that he didn’t want fans to emulate the character and insisted that was made clear in the script.
‘He’s in such a dark place. He may have made his peace with that, but there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no redemption for Frank. That’s deeply intriguing.’
The vibrant star got to show his tough yet loyal side in Thor as a Volstag, a member of the Warriors Three, and wore a fat suit for the part.
‘I’m Volstag and what you see is what you get,’ he told Collider in 2010.
‘He’s a bon vivant lover of life epicurean goodfellow. He’s a god, which helps. He’s full of life.
‘There’s a wonderful innocence to him. the star explained, ‘and the steadfast loyalty of a big Saint Bernard dog. He’d come running through the snow with a keg of beer to save your life. You know, he’s got a twinkle in his eye. He’s always up for a party. Yeah, that’s about it. He’s an all-around good egg. Big egg, but a good egg.’
Ray went on to reprise the role in Thor: The Dark World and in Thor: Ragnarok.