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Jay Benedict, ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Aliens’ actor, dies at 68 from COVID-19

Jay Benedict attends the London Film and Comic Convention at Earls Court on July 19, 2008 in London, England.
Jay Benedict attends the London Film and Comic Convention at Earls Court on July 19, 2008 in London, England. Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage

American actor Jay Benedict died on Saturday as a result of complications of COVID-19. He was 68.

In his five-decade-long career, the Burbank, Calif.-born entertainer acted in films like Aliens (1986) and Christopher Nolan‘s 2012 Batman film The Dark Knight Rises as well as British TV hits like Emmerdale and Foyle’s War.

News of Benedict’s death was confirmed by his management company, TCG Artist Management, on April 4. He died in London, England, only a week before his 69th birthday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear client Jay Benedict, who this afternoon lost his battle with COVID-19,” the company wrote. “Our thoughts are with his family.”

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Though he’s recognized for portraying different supporting characters across myriad films and major U.K. TV series, Benedict is best known for founding post-production and automated dialogue replacement) company Sync or Swim.

READ MORE: ‘Star Wars’ actor Andrew Jack dies from COVID-19

Benedict founded Sync or Swim in the early 2000s alongside his wife, Phoebe Scholfield.

The two provided voiceover, translation and dubbing work on more than 175 films and 200 individual TV series along with a number of animations and video games.

The U.K.-based company was responsible for the sound on movies like V for Vendetta (2005), 28 Weeks Later (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and James Bond: Spectre (2015), among many other productions.

Benedict’s career in the film industry also included a cameo in the original 1977 Star Wars film Episode IV: A New Hope.

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The actor played a character named Deak in the Tosche Station scene, which featured Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.

READ MORE: ‘Coronation Street, ‘Emmerdale’ cease production due to coronavirus

Hours before his death, a close friend of Benedict’s reached out, asking friends and followers on Twitter to send “prayers and good vibes” for the actor.

“He’s been on a ventilator for 9 days now with COVID-19 and things have begun shutting down. [Benedict] has worked on 8 out of 10 shows you been watching on TV,” the tweet, sent from a user named Youssef Kerkour, read.

Following Benedict’s battle with the novel coronavirus and subsequent death, an outpouring of messages appeared on Twitter, including notes of gratitude and memories of the entertainer.

Here’s what some of those messages said:

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Though Benedict was born in the U.S., he moved to the U.K. with his family as a young child. He was bilingual, fluent in both English and French, and also spoke a little bit of German and Spanish.

Benedict is survived by his wife, Scholfield, sons Leopold and Freddie, his mother Renata and a daughter from another marriage, Alexis.

READ MORE: Celebrities and public figures who’ve tested positive for coronavirus

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says everyone must use good judgment during pandemic
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says everyone must use good judgment during pandemic

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca