Ray Stevenson, the Irish actor renowned for his roles in films such as “Punisher: War Zone,” “King Arthur,” the “Thor” films, and notable shows like HBO’s “Rome” and the upcoming “Ahsoka” series, passed away on Sunday in Italy, as confirmed by his publicist. He was 58.
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As of now, the cause of death remains undisclosed. Italian media reports indicate that he had been admitted to a local hospital while on the island of Ischia.
Born in Northern Ireland on May 25, 1964, Stevenson embarked on his career with appearances in TV shows during the 1990s before securing action roles in Hollywood films in the 2000s. His breakthrough came with Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 adventure movie “King Arthur,” where he portrayed Dagonet, one of the Knights of the Round Table. In a pivotal moment in the film, his character sacrifices himself in battle to aid Arthur (Clive Owen) and his band of warriors.
In 2008, Stevenson secured a leading role in the Marvel film “Punisher: War Zone,” portraying the titular mercenary, Frank Castle. The film, distributed by Lionsgate in North America, predates Disney’s acquisition of the Marvel universe. Despite being the third actor to take on the role of the Punisher on screen, following Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane, Stevenson’s rendition marked a PG-13 reboot. However, the film faced challenges at the box office, earning $10.1 million from a $35 million budget. Jon Bernthal later assumed the role in Netflix’s “Daredevil” and “The Punisher” series.
Throughout the 2010s, Stevenson featured in action films such as “The Book of Eli,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “The Three Musketeers,” and joined franchises like Marvel’s “Thor” and Lionsgate’s “Divergent” adaptation. In the Marvel series, Stevenson played Volstagg, an Asgardian hero and member of the Warriors Three, in the first three “Thor” movies. His character met his demise at the hands of Cate Blanchett’s Hela in “Thor: Ragnarok.” In the “Divergent” series, Stevenson portrayed Marcus Eaton, the city council leader of the Abnegation faction and father of Four (Theo James).
Notably, Stevenson recently appeared in the Oscar-nominated Tollywood blockbuster “RRR” as the antagonist Governor Scott Buxton. Additionally, he is set to feature in the upcoming Disney+ “Star Wars” series “Ahsoka,” portraying the character Baylan Skoll, a Jedi who succumbs to the dark side and aligns with the sinister Grand Admiral Thrawn. Stevenson had previously lent his voice to the character Gar Saxon in “Star Wars Rebels” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
On the television front, Stevenson headlined the HBO historical drama “Rome” from 2005 to 2007, portraying the character Titus Pullo. His role as a Roman soldier, alongside Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus, unfolded against the backdrop of pivotal historical events in the early Roman Empire. The series garnered seven Emmy Awards during its two-season run.
Stevenson’s television repertoire further included the role of Ukrainian mobster Isaak Sirko in Season 7 of Showtime’s “Dexter,” the portrayal of Blackbeard in Starz’ “Black Sails” pirate series, and the character Othere in Season 6 of “Vikings.”
Apart from his posthumous appearance in the Disney+ series “Ahsoka,” Stevenson’s film credits will encompass “1242: Gateway to the West” and “Cassino in Ischia.”