Excalibur's King Arthur, actor Nigel Terry, has, sadly, passed away on April 30 from emphysema. He was 69 years old.
Principally a stage actor — he had an amazing stage career and appeared in many theater productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Round House Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre — Terry made his film debut in 1968's The Lion in Winter alongside the late, great Peter O'Toole and screen legend Katharine Hepburn. Sir Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton also starred alongside Terry in the classic movie, in which the actor gave a brilliant performance as Prince John. He then disappeared from the big screen for 13 years (making a few TV appearances in between) before he finally took on the role of the Once and Future King in John Boorman's seminal Arthurian movie, Excalibur, for which Terry is principally known among sci-fi/fantasy fans.
Released in theaters back in 1981, Excalibur was based on Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur and starred Terry as King Arthur, Helen Mirren as Morgana, Nicholas Clay as Lancelot, Nicol Williamson as Merlin, Gabriel Byrne as Uther Pendragon, Liam Neeson as Sir Gawain and Cherie Lunghi as Arthur's wife, Guenevere. The movie also starred Star Trek: The Next Generation's Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart, in the role of Gwen's dad, Leodegrance. The movie is widely considered by fans to be THE best King Arthur movie ever made. It was these two roles (Prince John and King Arthur) that firmly cemented Nigel Terry's place in pop culture.
Terry and Lunghi would later reunite in 1992's Covington Cross, a series that was sadly canceled before its time after only 13 episodes were filmed and made it on the air. He then made several TV appearances (his film carreer was much less prolific), including guest-starring stints on Highlander (the series starring Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod) in 1993 and Doctor Who in 2008. His last TV appearance was in 2010's Genghis Kahn: The Story of a Lifetime.
Appearing in less than 20 films on the big screen, he had the title role in Derek Jarman's Caravaggio, in War Requiem and in Blue. He also appeared in FearDotCom and in Troy, reuniting with Peter O'Toole once more. He apparently possessed "an aggressively artistic temperament" and much preferred the theater. A private person for most his life, he is said to have lived alone until his untimely death.
RIP Mr. Terry. You will be missed.