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Ben Cross “Chariots Of Fire” And “Star Trek” Actor Dies At 72

Ben Cross arrives at the Chariots of Fire Great British Premiere at Empire Leicester Square on Tuesday July 10, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)

British actor Ben Cross, best known for his starring role in the 1981 Oscar-winning sports drama “Chariots of Fire,” died on Tuesday. He was aged 72.

Cross, who portrayed Jewish sprinter Harold Abrahams’s battle to overcome anti-Semitism and triumph at the 1924 Olympics, was also known to younger fans as Spock’s father in the 2009 reboot of “Star Trek.”

According to his agent, Cross passed away following a “short illness”. He was reportedly living in Vienna at the time of his death.

Cross, a veteran stage actor born in London, made his big-screen debut alongside Sean Connery and Michael Caine in Richard Attenborough’s 1977 World War II epic “A Bridge Too Far.”

After a successful turn in the London West End debut of the musical “Chicago,” he was cast in “Chariots” along with Ian Holm and John Gielgud.

“Chariots” would go on to win four Academy Awards including best picture — and best original score for its iconic theme — although Cross himself was not nominated.

He continued working across theatre, film and TV to the end of his life, playing Sarek in JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek.”
Cross had just finished shooting the thriller “The Devil’s Light,” and will be seen in Netflix’s romantic drama “Last Letter From Your Lover” later this year.

Speaking with Deadline, his family said: “Today the world has lost a talent, but our family has lost a beloved husband, dad, and grandpa. 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. If you would like to remember him, please make a donation to Save the Children. As he would say, support musicians, love each other, do only good.”

Cross is survived by his wife Deyana Boneva Cross, and his two children, Theo and Lauren, and grandchildren Violet, Zinnia, and Alexander.

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