Stephen Greif passes away at 78: Cause of death, roles, 5 things to know about The Crown and Blake’s 7 actor

Stephen Greif passed away on Monday and is survived by his twin sons. He had a successful acting career and he featured in many television series including The Crown.

Updated on Dec 28, 2022   |  10:49 AM IST  |  276.3K
Stephen Greif (Image: Getty Images)
Stephen Greif passes away aged 78 (Image: Getty Images)

Stephen Greif, well-known for his roles in Blake’s 7 and The Crown has died aged 78. The news of his demise was confirmed by his agents Michelle Braidman Associates on Twitter. The Associates wrote on the social media platform, “With great sadness we announce the death of our wonderful client Stephen Greif. His extensive career included numerous roles on screen and stage, including at the National Theatre, RSC and in the West End. We will miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Ever since the news about the deceased actor has been out, fans have been pouring in tributes of love and condolences for him on the microblogging site.

Here are 5 things to know about the actor: 

Who was Stephen Greif? 

Stephen Greif was born on August 24th, 1944, in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire in England. He was a student in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After graduation, he went on to become a member of the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic and Southbank. Early on in his career, he established himself as a seasoned actor who appeared in numerous stage plays and television soap operas. He appeared in various stage productions including The Merchant of Venice, Richard II, The School For Scandal, and Macbeth. He then went on to feature in numerous British television series like The Persuaders, The Protectors, Dixon of Dock Green etc. However, he rose to prominence with his stint as Space Commander Travis in the cult BBC sci-fi series Blake’s 7. 

Stephen Greif: The director

Apart from being a seasoned actor, Grief was also a director for plays on stage and television. He has received awards for direction of popular plays like Romeo & Juliet at the Royal National Theatre, along with Henry VIII at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Both these plays were successful and received critical acclaim too. Apart from acting and directing, Greif also tried his hands at teaching. He taught acting at the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, where he mentored young and aspiring actors in the craft.

How did Stephen Greif die?

Stephen’s demise has come as a shock to his beloved colleagues, fans, and family. As per media reports, the cause behind the distinguished actor’s death has not been made public yet. Greif passed away on Monday, and the news about his demise was shared by his agents 8 hours later. He is survived by his twin sons Joseph and Daniel.

Stephen Greif passes away aged 78 (Image: Getty Images)

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Tributes pour in for Stephen Greif

Several of Greif’s peers and his fans have remembered him on Twitter following his unfortunate demise. Barnaby Edwards wrote that he is ‘deeply saddened’ to hear about the Blake’s 7 actor. Edwards tweet further read, “A rock-solid performer with a voice as liquid and deadly as molten lava. When it came to playing villains, he was unsurpassed. His acerbic wit and obvious intelligence made him a joy to direct. Thanks for the fun, Stephen.”


Phil Davis (Sherlock, Bleak House) wrote, “Very sad, a very fine actor and a kind and sensitive man. We played a bit of golf together. RIP.” Judy Jarvis also tweeted, “Devastated to hear that the brilliant actor, & fascinating erudite man, Stephen Greif has died.”

Stephen Greif career and roles

Greif had a successful stint in acting, both on stage and on screen. As we remember him today, let us take a look at 5 of Stephen Greif’s most notable works.

1.  Blake’s 7

Stephen Greif played the role of Space Commander Travis in BBC’s popular sci-fi television series of the 70s, Blake’s 7. Travis was a ruthless antagonist who killed civilians. After his left eye and arm were destroyed by Blake, they were replaced by an eye patch, and a prosthetic arm. He later becomes consumed with the goal of killing Blake. Greif was widely liked and critically acclaimed for his performance as the malevolent space commander in the series. He appeared on the show from 1978 to 1981 and shared screen space with Gareth Thomas, Paul Darrow, Michael Keating, and Sally Knyvette. 

2.  The Crown

Greif also appeared in the popular historical drama series The Crown which follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. He featured in the fourth season of The Crown in 2020. He was seen essaying the role of the Speaker of The House Sir Bernard Weatherhill.

Other Works: 

Apart from Blake’s 7 and The Crown, he was also known for his role as Harry Fanning in three seasons of the BBC sitcom Citizen Smith. Signor Donato in the movie Casanova. The trained actor and voice artist has also featured in other series like Doctor, Coronation Street, and Tales of The Unexpected. In EastEnders, he played the role of Brian Lassiter. Recently, he was also seen in the crime drama Silent Witness. He has also worked in radio, commercials, and audio stories for Big Finish Productions. Spartan (2005) and The Woman in Gold (2015) are among the few feature films he acted in. 

Pinkvilla pays its respects to the deceased actor.

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Credits: Image: Getty Images/ Barnaby Edwards Twitter/ Phil Davis Twitter/TV Insider/ BC News 24/ Mail Online/

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Dec 28, 2022
Sad...RIP and prayers for the family...