David Hemblen, the actor who played Magneto in X-Men: The Animated Series, has died age 79.
According to his obituary featured in Saturday’s New York Times, the actor passed away a week ago today on November 19th. The news was also later confirmed by X-men: The Animated Series writers, Julia and Eric Lewald on their joint Twitter account.
Hemblen began his life in England, born on September 16th 1941. He lived there for the first 15 years of his life before immigrating to Toronto. When he graduated high school he attended college and eventually went onto study for a Ph.D in Medieval Studies before dropping out to pursue his dream of acting.
His earliest work was in 1967, when he starred in the first season of Theatre Toronto. By the time he was offered his first TV gig the actor had earned over 70 credits acting and directing at various Canadian theatres. Hemblen’s biggest live-action role was in Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict, a series that was actually developed by Roddenberry’s widow Majel using notes he had left behind after his death in 1991.
Hemblen went on to use his acting prowess lending his voice to a myriad of productions including X-Men: The Animated Series, Yin Yan Yo!, Tales from the Cryptkeeper and Captain Power the Soliders of the Future.
Hemblen had been in the news earlier this month when Comicbook.com ran an article talking about how Marvel had insisted to X-Men: The Animated Series writers that Magneto should be the first major villain featured in the series.
“There hadn’t been any Marvel movies at the time, and we were told 80 to 90 percent of our audience wouldn’t know who X-Men were or what a mutant was because only a couple million people knew the comic book. We needed eight or nine million people to have a good show,” Eric Lewald said in an interview with Polygon. “So the task of the pilot was, besides telling an exciting story, to introduce the strange new world with a dozen characters, all of them are important. You have to get to know them, and you have to deal with what you’re seeing. So, yeah, that was really hard.”
He was survived by his daughter Kate, her husband Glyn, and two grandchildren, Anna Thomas and Celyn Thomas.