Actor Ray Stevenson, Volstagg in ‘Thor,’ dies at 58


Ray Stevenson, the actor from Northern Ireland who was known for his roles in Marvel’s “Thor” movies, the Star Wars franchise, “RRR” and the TV series “Rome,” has died at age 58.

His representative Brett Norensberg said he died Sunday in Italy but did not share further details. Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported he had been taken to hospital while in Italy shooting “Cassino in Ischia,” and died shortly afterward. The film, directed by Frank Ciota, had Mr. Stevenson in the lead role as a former action movie star trying to revive his career, according to Deadline.

Mr. Stevenson often appeared in film and TV series set in a grittier, bloodier time and place. He played a knight of the Round Table who fought as hard as he drank in “King Arthur”; a powerful politician in a dystopian future in the Divergent movies; a heavily bearded, ax-wielding warrior in the Thor series; an 18th-century pirate on TV in “Black Sails”; and a villain in the upcoming Star Wars show “Ahsoka.”

In its review of “Rome,” The Washington Post praised his performance, writing that Mr. Stevenson brought “much needed color and zest to his role” of the “very physical and lusty” Titus Pullo.

The Emmy-winning series, set in the 1st century B.C. and airing from 2005-2007, starred Mr. Stevenson as one of two leads anchoring the historical fiction plotlines.

In 2011, he was “exuberantly menacing” in the otherwise unremarkable “Kill the Irishman,” The Post wrote.

He made the jump to South Asian films with “RRR” (2022), one of the most expensive Indian films ever made and a hit with audiences. Mr. Stevenson played antagonist Scott Buxton, a governor of the British Raj, who kidnaps a child.

The Disney Plus series “Ahsoka” had already finished filming and will air on the streaming platform in August. He had also voiced a villain in two of the franchise’s animated series, “Star Wars: Rebels” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

“We were lucky to have Ray join the Star Wars galaxy as Gar Saxon in Star Wars Rebels and then more recently as Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka,” a statement on LucasFilm’s site said. “His ability to play a villain, while being such a kind and caring person in reality, is a testament to his incredible talent.”

Mr. Stevenson initially studied architecture, but switched to acting and learned his craft at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

His other credits include “Punisher: War Zone,” “The Other Guys,” “The Three Musketeers,” “Vikings” and “Dexter.”

He has three sons with Italian anthropologist Elisabetta Caraccia, the Associated Press reported.

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