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MCU Star Ray Stevenson Dead At 58

Ray Stevenson, the Northern Irish actor who's arguably best known for playing Volstagg in Marvel's "Thor" movies, has died at the age of 58, Variety has confirmed. Details about the cause of Stevenson's death are unknown at the time of this writing, but the news was verified by his publicist. 

As documented by The Wrap, the actor was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on May 25, 1964, and he moved to England with his family when he was eight years old. He attended the Bristol Old Vic Theater School, graduating when he was 29, before pursuing a career on the screen and stage. 

After making a name for himself on shows such as "A Woman's Guide to Adultery" and "A Dwelling Place," Stevenson got his big break after starring in "The Theory of Flight" in 1998, which was his first feature role. In 2004, he joined the cast of "King Arthur," and his Hollywood career took off from there, leading to roles in some of the most high-profile franchises in history. 

Ray Stevenson was known for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ray Stevenson had a storied career in film and television. He was a renowned character actor whose list of credits boasts everything from blockbusters to hit TV shows, but his work with Marvel helped turn him into a household name. He played the Asgardian adventurer Volstagg in "Thor" and the sequels, "Thor: The Dark World," and "Thor: Ragnarok." The character was a member of the Warriors Three and friendly with the titular Norse god and his brother Loki.

Of course, Volstagg isn't the only Marvel role that Stevenson brought to life, though his first foray into superhero movies wasn't as family-friendly as the "Thor" films. In 2008, he portrayed Frank Castle in Lexi Alexander's ultra-violent "Punisher: War Zone," an underappreciated actioner that has gained many fans in cult movie circles. While Jon Bernthal and Thomas Jane's takes on Marvel's beloved violent vigilante are perhaps more widely known, Stevenson's is arguably the truest to the comics. 

Stevenson also had a recurring role in the "Divergent" series and the Scott Adkins-led "Accident Man" saga. Most recently, the actor played the antagonist in "RRR," and fans can look forward to seeing him posthumously in the movies "1242: Gateway to the West" and "Cassino in Ischia." That said, Stevenson also deserves to be remembered for his television work, which includes "Star Wars" projects and acclaimed historical dramas.

Ray Stevenson received praise for some of his television roles

Ray Stevenson's on-screen roles began in television, and he consistently worked in the medium throughout his career. He famously played the Roman soldier Titus Pullo on HBO's historical drama "Rome" from 2005 until 2007. The series won seven Emmy Awards during its 22-episode run, and Stevenson's performance certainly contributed to its success.

The actor also appeared in a few episodes of "Dexter" back in Season 7, playing a Ukrainian mob boss named Isaak Sirko. The later seasons of Showtime's serial killer drama might not be the most well-regarded by fans, but Stevenson's performance was praised and even earned him a Saturn Award nomination for Best Guest Actor in a Television Series. 

Stevenson had a knack for playing compelling bad guys, and he brought these sensibilities to the galaxy far, far away for "Star Wars Rebels," which saw him voice the treacherous Mandalorian Gar Saxon. Fans of the sci-fi franchise can also look forward to seeing him play a character named Baylan Skoll on Disney+'s upcoming "Ahsoka" series, which is set to premiere this August. Disney and Lucasfilm haven't released a lot of information about this character yet, but he is expected to be a villainous brute.