Scottish star Nicol Williamson, best known for playing the wizard Merlin in the 1981 film Excalibur, has died aged 75. His family confirmed the actor passed away from oesophageal cancer shortly before Christmas, according to Bbc News.
The respected stage actor, who died in Amsterdam, was nominated for his first Tony Award in 1966, for Inadmissible Evidence. He made his professional stage debut in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Court Theatre, and later starred in a production of Hamlet at the Roundhouse (which was so successful it was adapted for the big screen in a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Marianne Faithfull). Revered by critics and actors alike, Playwright John Osborne famously called Williamson, "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando". In a statement announcing the passing on the actor's website, his son Luke said, "It's with great sadness, and yet with a heart full of pride and love for a man who was a tremendous father, friend, actor, poet, writer and singer, that I must bring news of Nicol's passing". He went on to add that his father passed away "peacefully" and that his last words were "I love you".
Nicol, who is also survived by his wife Jill Townsend, made his last screen appearance in the 1997 thriller 'Spawn', starring MARTIN SHEEN.