Actor Ben Cross, star of the Oscar-winning British biopic film Chariots of Fire, has passed away at age 72.
In the 1981 Best Picture winner, Cross portrayed Harold Abrahams, a British Jewish athlete who overcame anti-semitism during his time at Cambridge University to become champion in the 100m sprint at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.
Paying tribute to Cross on Twitter, journalist Martin Bashir hailed the way his performance “captured the burden of being an outsider.”
The magnificent Ben Cross as Harold Abrahams in ‘Chariots of Fire’ captured the burden of being an outsider, the hostility toward his Jewish antecedents & how even success is isolating: “With 10 lonely seconds to justify my existence.” You won gold – now rest from your running. pic.twitter.com/Wjene9yKxQ
— Martin Bashir (@MartinBashir) August 18, 2020
The BBC reports that Cross passed away “suddenly” in Vienna, Austria following a short illness. He is survived by his daughter Lauren and son Theo. His representatives said in a statement that Cross “had just finished shooting The Devil’s Light for Lionsgate and later this year will be seen in Last Letter from Your Lover in a leading role.”
Cross studied acting at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and worked prolifically in film and TV from the late ’70s until very shortly before his death. In 2009, he played Sarek, father of Zachary Quinto‘s Spock, in J.J. Abrams‘ acclaimed big screen reboot of Star Trek.
He also starred opposite Sir Christopher Lee in 1984’s The Far Pavilions, an adaptation of M. M. Kaye‘s historical novel about British-Indian history which was the first-ever HBO miniseries. In 1991, he starred as Barnabas Collins in ABC’s short-lived revival of Dark Shadows.
More recently, he appeared in several episodes of Cinemax’s Banshee and Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, and even portrayed Prince Charles‘ in Lifetime’s William & Kate: The Movie.
You can watch Cross in the original trailer for Chariots of Fire featuring the iconic theme song by Vangelis below.
R.I.P. Ben Cross.Read More