Ray Stevenson, the Irish actor who starred in films like “Punisher: War Zone,” “King Arthur,” the “Thor” films and shows like HBO’s “Rome” and the upcoming “Ahsoka” series,” died on Sunday in Italy, Variety has confirmed with his publicist. He was 58.
No cause of death was available.
Born in Northern Ireland on May 25, 1964, Stevenson began his career appearing on TV shows in the 1990s then began landing action roles in Hollywood films starting in the 2000s. His first major film role came in Antoine Fuqua’s 2004’s adventure movie “King Arthur,” where he played Dagonet, one of the Knights of the Round Table. In the film, his character sacrifices himself in battle to help Arthur (Clive Owen) and his brotherhood of warriors.
In 2008, Stevenson landed a starring role in the Marvel film, “Punisher: War Zone,” where he played the titular mercenary, aka Frank Castle. The film was distributed by Lionsgate in North America, before Disney acquired the rights to the Marvel universe and later re-introduced the character in the Netflix series “Daredevil.”
Stevenson was the third actor to portray the Punisher on screen. Dolph Lundgren first played the vigilante in a straight-to-video release in 1989, followed by Thomas Jane in 2004’s R-rated “Punisher.” “War Zone” was a PG-13 reboot of the series, but it fizzled at the box office after earning $10.1 million from a $35 million budget. Jon Bernthal later took up the mantle in Netflix’s “Daredevil” and “The Punisher” shows.
In the 2010s, Stevenson appeared in action movies like “The Book of Eli,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “The Three Musketeers” and franchises like Marvel’s “Thor” and Lionsgate’s “Divergent” adaptation. In his second Marvel outing, Stevenson played the Asgardian hero Volstagg, one of the Warriors Three who were allies to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.
He apeared in the first three “Thor” movies before being struck down by Cate Blanchett’s villain Hela in “Thor: Ragnarok.” In the “Divergent” series, Stevenson played Marcus Eaton, the city council leader of the Abnegation faction and father of Four (Theo James).
Recently, Stevenson appeared in the Oscar-nominated Tollywood blockbuster “RRR” as the evil Governor Scott Buxton. He will also appear in this summer’s Disney+ “Star Wars” series “Ahsoka” as a Jedi named Baylan Skoll, who turns to the dark side and is an ally to the diabolic Grand Admiral Thrawn. He previously voiced the character Gar Saxon in “Star Wars Rebels” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
On the TV side, Stevenson starred in the HBO historical drama “Rome” as Titus Pullo from 2005-07. He played a Roman soldier, opposite Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus, who witnessed several key historical events as the Roman Empire began. The show picked up seven Emmys during its two seasons.
Stevenson also played Ukrainian mobster Isaak Sirko on Season 7 of Showtime’s “Dexter,” Blackbeard on Starz’ “Black Sails” pirate series and the sailer Othere on “Vikings” Season 6.
In addition to “Ahsoka,” Stevenson’s posthumous credits will include the films “1242: Gateway to the West” and “Cassino in Ischia.”