Hill was born in Blackley, Manchester, Lancashire in the United Kingdom. He attended Xaverian College, and then Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama at the same time as Richard Griffiths. He graduated with a diploma in theatre in 1970.
Hill has had many roles on screen since 1974, including in The Scorpion King, Wimbledon, Joy Division, Franklyn, Valkyrie, and Outpost 11, mini-series such as The Grid, and British television shows like Sunshine, I, Claudius, and Five Days.
He resides in Suffolk, England.
- He played Edward Smith (captain of the RMS Titanic itself, which sank in 1912) in the 1997 film Titanic. Ironically, Philip Stone, who voiced Théoden in the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, also played Arthur Rostron (captain of the RMS Carpathia, the ship responsible for rescuing the survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic) in the 1979 film S.O.S. Titanic.
- He is the only actor to have appeared in two films that have won 11 Academy Awards (the highest number of Academy Awards ever won by a film), namely Titanic in 1997 and The Return of the King in 2003. The only other film to have achieved this feat is Ben-Hur in 1959.
- He appeared in the 1996 film The Wind in the Willows, which also featured Stephen Fry.
- He had a voice role in the 2005 animated film Midsummer Dream, which also featured the voice of Billy Boyd.
- He appeared in the 2008 TV series Fairy Tales, which also featured James Nesbitt.
Sean Astin • Sean Bean • Cate Blanchett • Orlando Bloom • Billy Boyd •