Mike Mitchell, the bodybuilder whose imposing physique earned him roles in Braveheart and Gladiator, dies at 65
Mike Mitchell, the body builder–turned–actor, has died at age 65.
Mitchell’s representative shared with TMZ that he had died Friday on his boat in Turkey.
He was best known for his high-profile early performances, including tough-guy parts in Mel Gibson’s historical epic Braveheart and Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winner Braveheart.
Action star: Mike Mitchell, a bodybuilder who turned to acting with small roles in Braveheart and Gladiator, died Friday of natural causes on his boat in Turkey; still from Zombie Massacre
According to Mitchell’s family, he died of natural causes, though they provided few details about his death.
‘It was very hard to believe … The sudden death of an international actor we managed, an honest person, a real actor, a true friend, my dear friend, has saddened us deeply,’ said his representative.
‘I’ve always been honored to be your manager. I wish patience to your wife, dear Denise Mitchell, and your children,’ they continued. ‘Getting to know you and gaining your friendship is invaluable. Sleep in the lights. RIP.’
According to his IMDb biography, Mitchell began his career at 16 by joining the British Armed Forces, where he specialized in explosive devices and bomb disposal.
Gone too soon: ‘It was very hard to believe … The sudden death of an international actor we managed, an honest person, a real actor, a true friend, my dear friend, has saddened us deeply,’ said his representative; still from Morning Star
He transitioned into off-shore oil drilling, starting first as a diver and eventually making his way up to becoming a managing director.
During that time, he took up a side career as a bodybuilder, which saw him competing in the Britain’s Strongest Man competition.
He won five Masters Mr. World titles and two Mr. Universe titles.
He also had a love of sailing and competed in several yacht races.
Done it all: Mitchell joined the British Armed Forces at 16, before working as an off-shore oilman and a competitive bodybuilder; still from Zombie Massacre
Big break: His first big film role was a small part in Mel Giboson’s Braveheart, which he earned thanks to his size and imposing physicality; Gibson seen in Braveheart
Mitchell’s size and fitness helped him secure a role in Braveheart, which starred and was directed by Mel Gibson.
The historical epic, about William Wallace and his fight for Scottish independence, won five Academy Awards, including for Best Picture and Best Director.
In 2000, he appeared in Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, among others.
That film was also a critical and commercial success and garnered five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe.
Mitchell mostly appeared in lower-budget films from there on, and he had major roles in the action–fantasy film Morning Star and the horror film Zombie Massacre.
In recent years, he had slowed his pace down after suffering a heart attack shortly after he won his fifth World Fitness title in 2006.
He and his wife Denise had been living on a boat in Turkey at the time of his death.
Riding high: He also appeared in Ridley Scott’s Oscar winner Gladiator with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Mitchell mostly appeared in low-budget films from there on; still from Gladiator