British actor, Ray Stevenson, best known for starring roles in “Punisher: War Zone” and the “Rome” television show, has died at the age of 58.
Stevenson died on Sunday May 21, four days before his 59th birthday, his publicist confirmed in a statement. A cause of death has not been given.
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported he had been hospitalized on the island of Ischia while in production on the film Cassino on Ischia, directed by Frank Ciota.
The Peter Mayhew Foundation, set up by the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, tweeted: “We are sad to hear of the passing of Ray Stevenson.
“You may recognize Ray as Baylon Skoll from the upcoming Ahsoka show on Disney+. You may also remember his work as the voice of mandalorian super commando Gar Saxon in The Clone Wars. Our sincerest condolences to his family.”
Born on May 25, 1964, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, Stevenson began his screen career in the early 1990s, appearing in European TV series and telefilms. His first big-screen credit was opposite Helena Bonham Carter and Kenneth Branagh in Paul Greengass’ 1998 drama The Theory of Flight.
His first major film role cam in Antoine Fuqua’s 2004’s adventure movie “King Arthur,” where he played Dagonet, one of the Knights of the Round Table.
In 2008, Stevenson landed a starring role in the Marvel film, “Punisher: War Zone,” where he played mercenary Frank Castle.
The film was distributed by Lionsgate in North America, before Disney acquired the rights to the Marvel universe and later re-introduced the character in the Netflix series “Daredevil.”
Stevenson was the third actor to portray the Punisher on screen. Dolph Lundgren first played the vigilante in a straight-to-video release in 1989.
Stevenson also appeared in a number of small screen productions. He played Titus Pullo, a Roman soldier, on HBO’s historical drama Rome from 2005 to 2007. The critically acclaimed series was awarded seven Emmys during its two seasons.
In 2012, Stevenson played Ukrainian mob member Isaak Sirko in the seventh season of Showtime’s serial killer series Dexter.
In 2014, he starred in the first "Divergent" film as Marcus. Stevenson went on to star as the character in the following films in the franchise: "The Divergent Series: Insurgent" and “Allegiant.”
Following "Divergent," Stevenson appeared in "Thor: Ragnarok" as Volstagg, which also starred Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo and Idris Elba. He also voiced the character of Gar Saxon in "Star Wars: Rebels" in 2016 and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" in 2020.
He also starred as Blackbeard in the third and fourth seasons of Black Sails (2016 and 2017) and Othere on the sixth season of Vikings (2019).
One of his most recent roles was in the Academy Award-winning film "RRR," in which he played Scott Buxton.
His other recent roles include 2022’s Memory and the TV series, Das Boot. He is slated to to appear as Baylan Skoll in the upcoming "Star Wars" miniseries "Ahsoka" later this year.