Chariots of Fire actor Ben Cross dies aged 72

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Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Actor Ben Cross, who was best known for playing athlete Harold Abrahams in the movie Chariots of Fire, has died aged 72.

His representatives said he died “suddenly” from a short illness.

Writing on her Facebook page, her daughter Lauren said she was “completely sorry” that her “darling father” had died.

She said he had been “sick for a while” but that there had been “a rapid decline over the past week”.

Cross, who died in Vienna, Austria, had two children, Lauren and Theo.

His representatives said he had just finished filming the horror film The Devil’s Light and will appear later this year in a leading role in the romantic drama film Last Letter From Your Lover.

He was born Harry Bernard Cross in London to a working class Catholic family.

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Warner Bros / Getty Images

Legend

Ben Cross as British athlete Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire


After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (Rada), he moved from stage to screen and played a minor role in the 1977 war film A Bridge Too Far, which starred Sir Sean Connery and Sir Michael Caine.

He became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company the same year, before gaining greater fame as Billy Flynn – the lawyer representing murderer Roxie Hart – in a 1978 version of Chicago.

It was a performance that earned him his role in Chariots Of Fire in 1981, which won four Oscars, including Best Picture.

Cross played Jewish runner Harold Abrahams in the film, which was based on the true story of two British men racing for Olympic gold in 1924.

BBC religion editor Martin Bashir said Cross’s portrayal of Abraham had “captured the burden of being an outsider.”

He later appeared as Malagant in the 1995 film First Knight and Sarek during the Star Trek reboot in 2009.

Cross also appeared as Rudolf Hess in the 2006 BBC production Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial.

The Guardian reports that he is survived by his wife, Deyana Boneva Cross.

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