Ben Cross in Star Trek (2009)
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Source: Paramount

Star Trek, Pandora, 12 Monkeys and Dark Shadows actor Ben Cross dies at 72

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Aug 18, 2020, 4:14 PM EDT (Updated)

Ben Cross, an actor whose wide-ranging filmography took him all over the world of genre over the course of his 48-year career, has died at the age of 72.

Deadline reports that the actor, who played Spock's father Sarek in J.J. Abram's 2009 Star Trek, died of an illness in Vienna on Tuesday morning, according to his family. His rescue was a key plot point in the sci-fi film franchise's revival, as the U.S.S. Enterprise needed to save his character and the high council of Vulcan before the planet was destroyed. Cross took over the role from Mark Lenard, who played Sarek in the original Trek series. James Frain currently plays Sarek on Star Trek: Discovery.

Cross' roles went both big (he led Oscar-winning hit Chariots of Fire) and niche (he played a minor baddie in The Hurricane Heist) as he lent his classic British training to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. It doesn't take a pedigree from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to play Barnabas Collins in a '90s Dark Shadows revival, but it certainly makes it more fun for those watching.

The actor also appeared in fare like 12 MonkeysThe Twilight ZonePandoraTales From the CryptExorcist: The BeginningSpecies: The Awakening, and Jack the Giant Killer. He recently went into voice acting, performing on both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja.

Perhaps most shocking is that Cross died 10 days after wrapping work on his final film role, Cardinal Mathews in the upcoming horror film The Devil's Light. Cross is survived by his wife, Deyana Boneva Cross, and two children, Theo and Lauren.

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