game of Thrones Actor and punk rock icon Wilko Johnson has passed away at the age of 75.
The British musician and actor was best known for his role as court hangman Ser Ilyn Payne on the hit HBO fantasy show and his time as guitarist and singer for the band Dr. Feelgood. Johnson’s death was announced on Wednesday, November 23 in a statement on Twitter, which revealed that he passed away on Monday, November 21. The short statement reads: “This is the announcement we never wanted to make, and we do.” so with a heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has passed away. He passed away at his home on Monday, November 21. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this sad time. R.I.P. Wilko Johnson.”
Although Johnson left his biggest mark in the world of music, he also made an impact in the world of acting with his stint in Game of Thrones. Cast as Ser Ilyn Payne. In seasons 1 and 2 of the show, Johnson’s character played the role of King’s Justice and was the man who killed Eddard Stark (played by Sean Bean) at the end of the first season. Johnson never had any spoken word lines on the show due to the character having his tongue removed during the Mad King’s rule, making him a menacing and sinister figure in Westeros.
Johnson spoke about his casting for the role in an interview with his local UK newspaper, the Echo of Canvey, in 2011, saying: “They said they wanted someone really sinister who would go around daggering people before killing them. That made it easy. Daggering people is what I do all the time, it’s like second nature for me”. He added: “The first day, I had to give this girl the wrong look. So I was stunned. Afterward, the American director came up to me and said, ‘Wilko, you don’t have to act scary. You’re scary.'”
After just two seasons on the show, Johnson was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer in 2013. He was given 10 months to live at the time after deciding not to undergo chemotherapy. Subsequently, his time in game of Thrones was cut short, and Johnson also decided to embark on a farewell tour while recording one last album with British rocker Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, in 2014. Later that year, Johnson was declared cancer-free after undergoing a surgery.
Johnson’s musical career spanned from 1971 to the day of his death. He first formed Dr. Feelgood in 1971 with Lee Brilleaux and John B. Sparks. The band carved a niche for itself in the eclectic genre of British punk and pub rock, playing a distinctive mix of rock and R&B. They toured throughout the ’70s and achieved great success with their third album, Stupiditywhich topped the UK charts at number 1. Johnson left the group a year later in 1977. Following this, he went on to form the Wilko Johnson Band, with whom he would record and perform until his death.
Source: Twitter, Echo of Canvey