Renowned actor Bernard Hill has died aged 79. 

The agent of the Lord of the Rings and Titanic star, who lived between Halesworth and Lowestoft, has confirmed Hill died this morning.

The actor played Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 Oscar-winner Titanic, starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

He also portrayed Theoden, King of Rohan, in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy directed by Sir Peter Jackson.

Hill joined the Lord Of The Rings cast for the second film in the trilogy, 2002’s The Two Towers, which won two Academy Awards for best sound editing and best visual effects.

He returned to the franchise for 2003’s The Return Of The King, which picked up 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director for Sir Peter.

Actress and musician Barbara Dickson, who starred with him in a musical based on the Beatles, was among those paying tribute, describing him as a “marvellous actor”.

Alongside a photo of them together, she wrote: “It’s with great sadness that I note the death of Bernard Hill.

“We worked together in John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert, (by) Willy Russell marvellous show 1974-1975.

Eastern Daily Press: Bernard Hill in Southwold in 2013Bernard Hill in Southwold in 2013 (Image: Newsquest)

“A really marvellous actor. It was a privilege to have crossed paths with him. RIP Benny."

Hill was a member of the Southwold Sailing Club, a keen climber and experienced abseiler.

Born in Manchester, he spoke of falling in love with Suffolk while filming Drowning By Numbers at Thorpeness

In 2013 he was among 50 people who abseiled down Southwold lighthouse in aid of the RNLI. 

Hill was a judge at Norwich Film Festival in 2012 and also received an honorary degree from the University of East Anglia in the city in 2019.