The world of fandom bids farewell to a giant in the realm of science fiction and fantasy, George Raymond “Ray” Stevenson. Born January 24, 1964 in Northern Ireland to an English father and an Irish mother, Ray Stevenson departed less than a week shy of his 58th birthday, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in film and television. He passed away at the age of 58 at Anna Rizzoli Hospital, Lacco Ameno, Italy.
Famed for his distinctive performances across a myriad of beloved franchises, Stevenson’s captivating screen presence helped him etch his name into the annals of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as the boisterous Volstagg, a member of the Warriors Three in Thor’s epic trilogy, fighting alongside Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander).
Stevenson was also a familiar voice within the Star Wars universe. He voiced the Mandalorian Gar Saxon in Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: Clone Wars, and isset to appear as a Dark Jedi, Baylan Skoll, in the forthcoming Ahsoka mini-series, marking his final, posthumous performance.
His talent knew no bounds as he effortlessly switched from superhero to antihero, most notably as Frank Castle, also known as the Punisher, in The Punisher: War Zone (2008), and later reprising his role in The Super Hero Squad Show.
Beyond these franchises, Stevenson’s performances continued to win over fantasy and science fiction enthusiasts alike. He was Murlaugh in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009), Marcus Eaton in the Divergent film trilogy, and Sir Dagonert in King Arthur (2004). Additionally, he was Firefly in G I Joe: Retitlion (2013) and the formidable DC in the horror film, Outpost (2008). Stevenson was Redridge in The Book of Eli (2010), and the legendary pirate Blackbeard in Black Sails, and brought the boisterous Porthos to life in The Three Musketeers (2011).
Stevenson’s performances extended beyond the fantasy realm. His memorable turns included playing the roguish Titus Pillo in the HBO series Rome, the intriguing Othere of Hogaland in Vikings, and the powerful Governor Scott Buxton in RRR (2022). His talent earned him a nomination for a Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television for his portrayal of Isaak Sirko in Dexter.
His acting credits span 30 years and 64 projects. He began his acting career at 28, with the role of a reporter in the television series A Woman’s Guide to Adultery.
Away from the limelight, Stevenson was just as much a force to be reckoned with, as his vivacity and vibrancy were remembered by those who worked closely with him. Rosario Dawson, a fellow actor, encapsulated this sentiment on Twitter: “Ray was so vivacious & unbelievably present & vibrant. He truly lived!!!”
Stevenson grew up in Northumberland, England, after moving there as a child. He was married to actress Ruth Gemmell from 1997 to 2005 and fathered three sons, Sebastiano, Leonardo, and Ludovico, with his girlfriend, Italian anthropologist Elisabetta Caraccia.
As we commemorate the loss of this cinematic pillar, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and the countless fans mourning his loss worldwide. Ray Stevenson, your artistic legacy will continue to inspire and delight for generations to come. Rest well, Ray.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.