Ray Stevenson, RRR, Rajamouli, demise, condolences
Stevenson has three sons with Italian anthropologist Elisabetta Caraccia, who he met while working on Rome. (Image: @RRRMovie / Twitter)

RRR-fame actor Ray Stevenson dies at 58; Rajamouli, industry condole death

Ray Stevenson, the Irish actor, best-known among the Indian audience for playing the menacing British governor in SS Rajamouli’s RRR, passed away on Sunday (May 21) at the age of 58.

Representatives for Stevenson told The Associated Press that Stevenson died on Sunday (May 21) but had no other details to share on Monday (May 22).

Stevenson, also famed for his role as an Asgardian warrior in the Thor films, and a member of the 13th Legion in HBO’s Rome, was born in Lisburn in 1964. After attending the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and years of working in British television, he made his film debut in Paul Greengrass’s 1998 film The Theory of Flight. In 2004, he appeared in Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur as a knight of the round table and several years later played the lead in the pre-Disney Marvel adaptation Punisher: War Zone.

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Though Punisher was not the best-reviewed film, he’d get another taste of Marvel in the first three Thor films, in which he played Volstagg.

Other prominent film roles included the Divergent trilogy, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Transporter: Refueled. A looming presence at 6-foot-4, Stevenson, who played his share of soldiers past and present, once said in an interview, “I guess I’m an old warrior at heart.”

On the small screen, he was the roguish Titus Pullo in Rome, a role that really got his career going in the United States and got him a SAG card, at the age of 44. The popular series ran from 2005 to 2007.

“That was one of the major years of my life,” Stevenson said in an interview. “It made me sit down in my own skin and say, just do the job. The job’s enough.”

In the Variety review of Rome, Brian Lowery wrote that “the imposing Stevenson certainly stands out as a brawling, whoring, and none-too-bright warrior, a force of nature who, despite his excesses, somehow keeps landing on his feet.”

He was Blackbeard in the Starz series Black Sails, Commander Jack Swinburne in the German television series Das Boot, and Othere on Vikings.

Stevenson also did voice work in Star Wars’ Rebels and The Clone Wars, as Gar Saxon, and has a role in the upcoming Star Wars live-action series Ahsoka, in which he plays a bad guy, Baylan Skoll. The eight-episode season is expected on Disney+ in August.

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In an interview with Backstage in 2020, Stevenson said his acting idols were the likes of Lee Marvin (and) Gene Hackman. “Never a bad performance, and brave and fearless within that caliber,” Stevenson said. “It was never the young, hot leading man; it was men who I could identify with.”

Stevenson has three sons with Italian anthropologist Elisabetta Caraccia, who he met while working on Rome.

Condolences pour in

Condolences have started pouring in on social media.

SS Rajamouli tweeted, “Shocking…Just can’t believe this news. Ray brought in so much energy and vibrancy with him to the sets. It was infectious. Working with him was pure joy. My prayers are with his family. May his soul rest in peace.”

Jr. NTR expressed his shock at Stevenson’s untimely demise, “Shocked to hear about Ray Stevenson’s passing. Gone too soon. It was a great experience working with him. May his soul rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and dear ones during this difficult time.”

The Star Wars franchise tweeted, “We are heartbroken to hear of the passing of our dear friend Ray Stevenson.”

“What shocking news for all of us on the team! Rest in peace, Ray Stevenson. You will stay in our hearts forever, SIR SCOTT,” the official Twitter handle of RRR Movie posted.

Marvel Entertainment also expressed their sorrow at his passing, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ray Stevenson, who brought humor and wit to the character of Volstagg. He was a wonderful actor who will be deeply missed, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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