‘The Crown’ star Stephen Greif dead at 78

British actor Stephen Greif, best known to American audiences for his role on “The Crown,” has died at age 78, a rep announced on Monday.

The character actor played Speaker of the House Sir Bernard Weatherill during Season 4 of the hit Netflix drama about Britain’s royal family. 

The English actor, born in in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, is survived by two sons.

Greif enjoyed an extensive career on stage and screen, beginning in the late 1960s with Britain’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. He earned nominations for numerous awards, including an Olivier Award in 1979 for his performance as Biff in the National Theatre’s “Death of a Salesman.” 

On television, Greif is known largely to British audiences for playing space commander Travis in the ’70s sci-fi series “Blake’s 7,” and for playing pub owner Harry Fenning in the sitcom “Citizen Smith.” He’s also appeared in British TV institutions like “Coronation Street,” “EastEnders” and “Doctor Who.”

Greif’s death has led to an outpouring of best wishes — and sadness — from colleagues and loved ones.

“Very saddened to hear that Stephen Greif has left us. A rock-solid performer with a voice as liquid and deadly as molten lava. When it came to playing villains, he was unsurpassed. His acerbic wit and obvious intelligence made him a joy to direct. Thanks for the fun, Stephen,” director Barnaby Edwards (“Doctor Who”) tweeted

Grief was a prolific character actor, appearing in 2005's "Casanova" with Natalie Dormer.
Grief was a prolific character actor, appearing in 2005’s “Casanova” with Natalie Dormer.
©Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy E
Greif in the early 1980s on ITV's "Tales of The Unexpected."
Greif in the early 1980s on ITV’s “Tales of The Unexpected.”

Phil Davis, best known for “Sherlock” and “Whitechapel,” wrote, “Very sad, a very fine actor and a kind and sensitive man. We played a bit of golf together. RIP.” 

“Such sad news,” David Kennedy, star of British soap “Hollyoaks” said. “I worked with Stephen only once … He was a consummate professional and an absolute gent. RIP sir and condolences to his family.”

No cause of death has been announced.

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