His credits include Chariots of Fire and Star Trek, but Ben Cross – who has died at the age of 72, following a short illness – will be remembered for an incredible body of work, including his haunting portrayal of Barnabas Collins in the 1991 short-lived primetime reboot of the supernatural soap Dark Shadows.
British Actor Ben Cross Passes Away
Deadline reported that Cross’s family has confirmed his passing on August 18, 2020, in Vienna. Born Harry Bernard Cross in London in 1947, the actor was bitten by the acting bug at a young age, appearing in school plays. At 22, he was accepted at London’s Academy of Dramatic Arts.
After performing on the stage, he made his feature film debut in A Bridge Too Far, the 1976 World War II film. In 1981, he appeared as Harold Abrahams in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, which was set during the 1924 Olympics and told the story of two British runners, one being a Jew who fought prejudice, and the other a devout Catholic. Cross earned the accolade of being the Most Promising Artist of 1981 from the Variety Club Awards for his performance in the film.
If anyone felt that the iconic role of Barnabas Collins (played on the original TV daytime version by Jonathan Frid) couldn’t be played by anyone else, they may have changed their minds after seeing Cross’s turn as the tortured vampire in NBC’s Dark Shadows. Cross captured Barnabas’s humanity while also playing the character’s potential to commit horrible acts… like sinking his fangs into his victims or beating Willie Loomis (Jim Fyfe).
The series ended on a cliffhanger as to whether or not Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) had any recollection of her time in 1795, where she learned that Barnabas was a vampire.
Next, Cross took on the role of villain Prince Malagant in the film First Knight, which starred Richard Gere, Sean Connery, and Julia Ormond. In 2009, the talented actor appeared on the big screen as Sarek, Spock’s father, in the JJ Abrams-directed feature film version of Star Trek.
In 2011, he played Prince Charles in the TV movie William & Kate. More recently, Cross appeared in The CW series Pandora and in the 2018 film The Hurricane Heist. A mere 10 days ago, Cross filmed his final role, Cardinal Matthews, in the feature The Devil’s Light.
Married three times, Cross is survived by his wife Deyana Boneva Cross, and his two children, Theo and Lauren. Entertainment Hub sends sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Ben Cross during this difficult time.