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Ben Cross, 'Star Trek' and 'Chariots of Fire' actor, dies at 72

Veteran stage and screen star Ben Cross died Tuesday morning at the age of 72 after a short illness, his family confirmed.

Actor Ben Cross, best known for his portrayal of British Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in "Chariots of Fire" and for playing Sarek in the "Star Trek" reboot, has died. He was 72. 

His agent confirmed to Variety that Cross died Tuesday morning in Vienna following what he described as "a short illness." His family confirmed his passing to Deadline

Cross had a long stage and film career and made his big screen debut in the 1977 World War II film "A Bridge Too Far." 

His path to international fame really took off in 1978 when he played Billy Flynn in the musical "Chicago." That performance led him to be cast in the movie "Chariots of Fire," which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film told the true story of two Olympic runners and their different reasons for seeking gold in the 1924 Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian saw his athletic abilities as a gift from God, while Harold Abrahams (Cross) ran to fight back against antisemitism. 

Cross went on to star in a number of other films and miniseries including "Twist of Fate" and "The Citadel." 

In 2009, he starred as Sarek, a Vulcan astrophysicist and Spock's father, in the J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" reboot. 

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Cross wrapped work on his last role just ten days ago, as Cardinal Matthews in Lionsgate's "The Devil's Light," according to Deadline.  

Credit: Jon Furniss/Invision/AP
Ben Cross arrives at the Chariots of Fire Great British Premiere at Empire Leicester Square on Tuesday July 10, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)