John Benfield, star of ‘Prime Suspect’ and ‘The Bill’, dies aged 68

Jul 09, 2020
Benfield played DCS Mike Kernan in ITV's Prime Suspect. Source: YouTube.

British actor John Benfield has passed away from sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. The television star is said to have died at the Sobell House Hospice in Oxford on June 16, he was just 68 years old.

Markham, Froggatt and Irwin shared a short statement on their website, which read: “We are very sad that two of our wonderful and much loved actors, Sir Ian Holm and John Benfield are no longer with us. We send our love to their friends and family who share our sorrow for such huge loss.”

The Essex-born star is best-known for his role as DCS Mike Kernan, the boss of Helen Mirren’s character Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in ITV crime series Prime Suspect. The show ran from 1991 to 2006 and was based on a series of novels by Lynda La Plante.

Benfield – who was born John Turner – also starred in the likes of The Bill, The Winter’s Tale and The Day of the Triffids. 

He also enjoyed a career on the silver screen, landing roles in Ken Loach’s movie Hidden Agenda in 1990, he also worked for Woody Allen in Cassandra’s Dream (2007) and the Wachowski Brothers in Speed Racer (2008).

While he also enjoyed a successful stint in theatre, and portrayed Macduff to Pete Postlethwaite’s Macbeth in a 1997 tour of the classic Shakespeare play.

According to The Stage, Benfield is survived by his wife Lilian, who he married in 1989, their son Fred and grandson Rex.

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