Ben Cross, the English actor best known for starring in Chariots of Fire, has died at the age of 72. Cross died in Vienna, Austria on Tuesday following a short illness, according to his representative and family members (via AP).
A statement from his family called Cross a natural entertainer who “could sing anything” thanks to his vast musical knowledge.
“He was a man who taught us to embrace our feelings, whatever they may be,” the statement continued. “We are grateful for the time we had with him. His spirit lives on in our hearts through his words, his music, and the love that we still feel.”
Born in London in 1947, Cross entered the performing arts shortly after graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He enjoyed a number of smaller roles early on, including a stint in 1977 A Bridge Too Far starring Sean Connery, but his career took off after a convincing portrayal of Billy Flynn in a 1978 production of Chicago.
It was that production that led to what would become Cross’ breakthrough and biggest film project to date: 1981’s Chariots of Fire. Cross portrayed runner Harold Abrahams in the British historical drama about the 1924 Olympic games. The movie, thought to be one of the best out of Britain, went on to win four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Cross later appeared alongside Connery again in 1995’s First Knight. He also gained further recognition for playing Spock’s father, Sarek, in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek. In recent years, he took on the role of Prince Charles for the 2011 TV movie William & Kate: The Movie.
Even up until his death, Cross could be found on a set. His publicist noted that the actor had just wrapped up filming a horror movie titled The Devil’s Light for Lionsgate. Later this year, Cross will appear in the romantic drama Last Letter from Your Lover, alongside Shailene Woodley, Felicity Jones, and Joe Alwyn.
Cross leaves behind a wife, two children, and three grandchildren.