British actor David Warner died on July 24 at the age of 80. A prolific second role, he had appeared in almost 200 films or series and was known to the general public for his role as Caledon Hockley’s valet in James Cameron’s Titanic.
David Warner had a difficult childhood. His parents often moved and divorced when he was a teenager. Due to a school failure, he started working very early (occasional jobs), but at the same time developed a passion for the theater. So he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and then became a member. He then performed primarily in the classical register and went through auditions to act in television and film productions.
The actor gets his first role in the Albert Finney-directed adventure film Tom Jones: From Alcove to Gallows (1963). Three years later, he plays the main character of Morgan, a flamboyant young man who feels bad and is locked up in an insane asylum.
The discreet face of so many great films
In the 1960s and 1970s, David Warner shot for major directors such as Sidney Lumet (MI5 calls for protection, The Seagull), John Frankenheimer (The Man from Kyiv), Sam Peckinpah (A Named Cable Hogue, The Straw Dogs, Iron Cross ), Peter Hall (Work Is a 4-Letter Word, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Scammer), Joseph Losey (Dollhouse) and Arthur Hiller (Bites). With his sturdy physique and disturbing face, he often slips into the shoes of villains.
A native of Manchester, he camped at King Henry VI’s theater in 1965 “The Wars of the Roses”. On the series side, he played Nazi Reinhard Heydrich in Holocaust and Roman Senator Pomponius Falco in Masada, where his performance won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He could have been Freddy Krueger!
In 1984, David Warner was selected over Robert Englund to lend his feature films to one of cinema’s most famous villains, Freddy Krueger. But he left the project due to scheduling issues. The actor appeared on the big screen in the 1980s in Bloody Island, Bandits, bandits, Tron, The Man with Two Brains, The Society of WolvesWaxwork and Star Trek 5: The Ultimate Frontier (he also reprized his role as Gorkon in the sixth film of the famous intergalactic franchise in 1991).
From the 1990s, David Warner leaned towards the small screen. However, we see him endorsing significant characters in cinema. Including that of Doctor Wrenn in The Den of Madness (1995), a high-flying thriller led by a Sam Neill being held in a terrifying asylum, as well as the bodyguard of the ignoble Hockley (Billy Zane) in the cult of Titanic (1998). In the lucrative 1998 horror film Scream 2 he played the drama teacher of the haunted heroine Sidney Prescott.
Titanic’s valet like no other
On the series side, David Warner plays Thomas Eckhardt in Twin Peaks, Eli Levitt in Wild Palms, Reverend Timothy Palmore in Signs and Wonders, or even Alexander Troy in The Choir. The actor is also known as voice actor for cartoons like The Legend of Prince Vaillant, Batman, Gargoyles the Angels of the Night, Freakazoid!, Spider-Man, Toonsylvania, Men in Black, What’s ‘new Scooby-Doo? , Doctor Who or The Amazing World of Gumball.
In the early 2000s, David Warner returned to theater and camped with Andrew Undershaft, among others “Major Barbara” on Broadway and the title role of “King Lear” by Shakespeare. It made its big screen debut in Tim Burton’s sci-fi film Planet of the Apes. He also meets Peter Mullan in the Cannes presented drama Kiss of Life and Judi Dench in Les Dames de Cornouailles. In 2010 he starred in the horror film Black Death and in 2013 he played a reclusive poet in Before I Sleep.
One last role at Disney
In the 2010s, David Warner is still very active on the small skylight side. He has appeared in episodes of Inspector Barnaby, Mad Dogs, Penny Dreadful, The Mysteries of Inspector Wallander and Ripper Street. On the cinema side, he plays Admiral Boom in The Return of Mary Poppins (2018). The Disney musical marks its final theatrical release.