English born actor Ben Cross passed away yesterday, August 18, 2020, at age 72. Originally born Harry Bernard Cross in London to a working class family in 1947, Cross was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1970 at the age of 1922. He went onto appear in several stage plays, became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1977, and starred as smooth talking lawyer Billy Flynn in the 1979 West End production of Chicago.
After his lauded performance in Chicago, he was cast in possibly his most notable role, Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire. This led him to appear in a commercial for American Express, where he appeared with Olympic runner Jackson Stolz. He also replaced James Garner as the celebrity spokeman for the Polaroid Spectre camera. Over the years he appeared in several TV series and movies, like The Citadel, The Far Pavilions, and the 1997 CBS miniseries 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. He also notably portrayed Spock’s father Sarek in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek. A little known fact about Cross was that he was also a musician, writing songs for Bulgarian singer Vasil Petrov and Rage, a musical about the life of Ruth Ellis.
Cross passed away in Vienna after being shortly ill on August 18. He is survived by his wife, his two children, and his three grandchildren. “Today the world has lost a talent, but our family has lost a beloved husband, dad, and grandpa,” his family said in a statement to People Magazine. “He was a born showman and entertainer, a walking encyclopedia of music who could sing anything. He was a man who taught us to embrace our feelings, whatever they may be. 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.” The family also requests that interested parties make a donation in his honor to the charity Save The Children.