British actor David Warner died on July 24 at the age of 80. A prolific second role, he had appeared in nearly 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 moved often and divorced when he was a teenager. Failing at school, he began to work very early (odd food jobs), but at the same time developed a passion for the theatre. He thus entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, then became a member. He then went on to stage performances mainly in the classical register, and went through castings to play in television and film productions.
The actor obtains a leading role in the adventure film led by Albert Finney, Tom Jones: from alcove to gallows (1963). Three years later, he played the main character of Morganan extravagant but ill-at-ease young man, who ends up being incarcerated in a mental asylum.
The discreet face of so many great films
During the 1960s and 1970s, David Warner filmed for great directors, such as Sidney Lumet (MI5 asks for protection, La Mouette), John Frankenheimer (The Man from kyiv), Sam Peckinpah (One 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) or Arthur Hiller (Bites). With his robust physique and his disturbing face, he often slips into the skin of bad guys.
The native of Manchester camped, at the theater in 1965, King Henry VI in “The Wars of the Roses”. On the series side, he plays the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich in Holocaust and the Roman senator Pomponius Falco in Masadawhere his performance was rewarded with an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He could have been Freddy Krueger!
In 1984, David Warner was chosen before Robert Englund to lend his features to one of cinema’s most famous villains, Freddy Krueger. But he left the project due to scheduling concerns. On the big screen in the 1980s, the actor appeared in The Bloody Island, Bandits, bandits, tron, The Man with Two Brains, The Company of Wolves, Waxwork and Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier (he resumed his character of Gorkon in 1991 in the sixth movie of the famous intergalactic franchise).
From the 1990s, David Warner tended to favor the small screen. We see him, however, endorse significant characters in the cinema. Among them, that of Doctor Wrenn in The Den of Madness (1995), a high-flying thriller led by a Sam Neill detained in a chilling institution, as well as the bodyguard of the dastardly Hockley (Billy Zane) in the cult titanic (1998). In the lucrative horror film scream 2in 1998, he plays the drama teacher of the hunted heroine Sidney Prescott.
The valet like no other from Titanic
On the series side, David Warner plays Thomas Eckhardt in Twin PeaksEli Levitt in wild palms, Reverend Timothy Palmore in Signs and Wonders and Alexander Troy in The Choir. The actor is also very active as a dubber for cartoons, as in The Legend of Prince Vaillant, Batman, Gargoyles the angels of the night, Freakazoid!, Spiderman, 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 the theater and camped, among others, Andrew Undershaft in “Major Barbara” on Broadway and the title role of “King Lear” of Shakespeare. On the big screen, it is visible in the science fiction film The Planet of the Apes by Tim Burton. He also rubs shoulders with Peter Mullan in the drama presented at Cannes Kiss of Life and Judi Dench in Cornish Ladies. In 2010, he starred in the horror film Black Death and in 2013 in Before I Sleepwhere he plays a reclusive poet.
A final role at Disney
In the 2010s, David Warner is still very active on the side of the small skylight. We see it in episodes of Inspector Barnaby, Mad Dogs, Penny Dreadful, Inspector Wallander’s Investigations and RipperStreet. On the cinema side, he portrays Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins Returns (2018). The Disney musical marks its final appearance in cinemas.