Ben Cross, ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Star Trek’ Actor, Dies at 72
Cross wrapped his last role as Cardinal Mathews in Lionsgate’s “The Devil’s Light” ten days ago. The veteran screen and stage star died Tuesday in Vienna following a short illness, his agent Ed Smith confirmed to Variety.
Cross was born Harry Bernard Cross in London in 1947. He began acting at a young age, participating in grammar school productions, but left school to work as a window cleaner, waiter and carpenter.
His career took a turn at age 22, when he was accepted into London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cross graduated with the acting school’s prestigious Vanbrugh prize for performance of the year and made his screen debut on a 1976 World War II thriller “A Bridge Too Far.”
His path to international stardom took off in 1978, with his portrayal of Billy Flynn, a slick lawyer, in the play “Chicago.” He was soon cast in the British classic “Chariots of Fire,” along with Ian Charleson, Ian Holm and John Gielgud. For their acclaimed performance as British track athletes, Cross and co-star Charleson both won most promising artist of 1981 from the Variety Club Awards.
Cross picked up several screen projects including BBC drama “The Citadel,” HBO spy film “Steal the Sky” and NBC miniseries “Twist of Fate.” He also made onstage appearances in John Guare’s play “Lydia Breeze” and the revival of “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.”
In 1995, Cross was cast in the role of Prince Malagant in Columbia Pictures’ action film “First Knight,” and in 2007, he starred as Vulcan astrophysicist, Sarek, in the “Star Trek” reboot directed and produced by JJ Abrams.
His recent performances include The CW series “Pandora” and 2018 action film “The Hurricane Heist.” Netflix’s “Last Letter from Your Lover,” in which Cross starred with Shailene Woodley and Felicity Jones, is currently in post, and the actor had also been cast in movies in development including “Resilient 3D” and “Liberty.”
Cross is survived by his wife Deyana Boneva Cross and two children, Lauren and Theo.