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Punisher: War Zone, Ashoka Star Ray Stevenson Passes Away

May 22, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Ray Stevenson Insurgent Image Credit: Lionsgate

Hollywood has lost one if its best tough guys, as Punisher: War Zone and Rome star Ray Stevenson has passed away. Stevenson’s publicists have confirmed to Deadline that the Thor star passed on Sunday in Italy. No cause of death is yet known. Stevenson was 58.

Known for his imposing size and dramatic gravitas, Stevenson carved out a place for himself as a character actor in Hollywood. He was known for playing dangerous antagonists in films and shows such as Dexter, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and RRR, in addition to morally complex protagonists in the likes of War Zone and Rome. He is set to star as one of the main antagonists in in the upcoming Star Wars series Ahsoka.

Stevenson was born in Ireland in 1964, moving with his family to England at an early age. He attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, from which he graduated at the age of 29, and immediately set to getting work. He co-starred in ITV’s Band of Gold for its first two seasons and BBC’s City Central among other small screen appearances, building his career up and breaking out with the role of a gigolo opposite Helena Bonham Carter in 1998’s The Theory of Flight. He also appeared in Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 telling of King Arthur as the loyal knight Dagonet.

Soon after, he found the role that catapulted him to a world stage in Rome. Stevenson played Titus Pullo, the charming but morally questionable guard opposite Kevin McKidd in HBO’s historical drama. The series was a major hit, and Stevenson appeared in every episode of the series.

During that time, Stevenson took a leap into the comic book world as he played Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone. The film was neither critically or commercially successful, though Stevenson’s work in the film was praised and it earned a small but devoted fanbase. He would return to comic roles as Volstagg in the Thor films.

Stevenson earned high praise for his turn as Isaak Sirko in the seventh season of Dexter, including a Saturn Award nomination. He also played Blackbeard in Starz’s Black Sails, Ohthere of Hålogaland in Vikings, and voiced Gar Saxon in Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

In addition to Ahsoka, he will be seen posthumously in 1242: Gateway to the West, in which he replaced Kevin Spacy and which is in post-production.

On behalf of 411, our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Mr. Stevenson. He will most certainly be missed.

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Ray Stevenson, Jeremy Thomas