‘Punisher: War Zone’ and ‘Thor’ Actor Ray Stevenson Dies at Age 58
The Irish actor, also known for 'RRR,' 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' and the upcoming 'Ahsoka,' had been working on a movie in Italy when he unexpectedly passed.
Ray Stevenson, a versatile actor known for genre fare such as ‘Punisher: War Zone’, the first three ‘Thor’ movies, HBO’s ‘Rome’ and much more, has died. He was 58.
Born George Raymond Stevenson on May 25, 1964, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, he harbored acting ambitions from an early age and enrolled at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, from where he eventually obtained his graduate degree.
From there, he kicked off a career in British and European TV, starting with 1993’s ‘A Woman’s Guide to Adultery’, in which he had a supporting role as a journalist. He racked up credits in a number of TV series well known to UK audiences, including ‘Peak Practice’, ‘Holby City’ and ‘The Bill’ (the British equivalent of ‘Law & Order’ where many actors either got their start or have appeared in guest roles).
But on the small screen, his true big break was HBO’s ‘Rome’, in which he played the cheery, violent Titus Pollo. It raised his profile, and he began to score bigger parts both on TV and the big screen.
His TV work in the States also includes ‘Black Sails’, ‘Dexter’ ‘Medici’ and voicing the character of Gar Saxon in both ‘Star Wars Rebels’ and ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’. He’ll be back on our screens in that galaxy far, far away for ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka’, in which he plays a different character, the villainous Baylan Skoll.
On the movie front, he made his debut in 1998’s ‘The Theory of Flight’ opposite Helena Bonham Carter and would go on to make scene-stealing supporting appearances in a number of movies including ‘King Arthur’, ‘Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant’, ‘The Book of Eli’, ‘The Other Guys’, ‘Kill the Irishman’, 'The Transporter Refueled,' 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation,' the 'Accident Man' series, the ‘Divergent’ movies and, more recently, as the scowling, cruel Governor Scott Buxton in ‘RRR’.
Two roles, though, may stand out on his movie resume: he played the jubilant Volstagg, one of the Warriors Three who stand with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor in the first two movies featuring the Marvel hero (his character is unceremoniously offed in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.
And in a rare leading performance, he was chosen by director Lexi Alexander as Frank Castle in ‘Punisher: War Zone’, an underrated adaptation of the Marvel comic book character.
Alexander was among those quick to pay tribute to the actor.
Though he was sometimes seen as tough, brutal villains on screen, Stevenson is remembered as a warm, kind person by colleagues and those who met him. His passion for his work was infectious and he managed to find the human heart beating in the most nefarious character. Other roles, such as Pollo, let him showcase his natural charm.
Alongside his completed work on ‘Ahsoka’ Stevenson had been at work on Italian movie ‘Cassino in Ischia’ when he died; that film as well as ‘1242: Gateway to the West’ will join the ‘Star Wars’ show as his final projects.
Ray Stevenson Movies:
- 'King Arthur' (2004)
- ‘Punisher: War Zone' (2008)
- 'The Book of Eli' (2010)
- 'The Other Guys' (2010)
- ‘Thor' (2011)
- 'The Three Musketeers' (2011)
- 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' (2013)
- 'Jayne Mansfield's Car' (2013)
- ‘Thor: The Dark World' (2013)
- 'Divergent' (2014)
- 'Insurgent' (2015)
- 'The Transporter Refueled' (2015)
- 'Allegiant' (2016)
- 'Thor: Ragnarok' (2017)
- 'Accident Man' (2018)
- 'RRR' (2022)
- 'Memory' (2022)
- 'Accident Man: Hitman's Holiday' (2022)