X-Men: The Animated Series' Magneto Actor David Hemblen Is Dead At 79

Magneto on X-Men: The Animated Series

David Hemblen, who became known to superhero fans for his role as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto on X-Men: The Animated Series. A cause of death was not immediately announced. He was 79 at the time of his passing.

Although David Hemblen passed away on November 16, news of his death has only now just reached the internet (via The Toronto Star). With this many are paying tribute to the late actor.

David Hemblen was born in London on September 16, 1941, though he and his family would eventually immigrate to Toronto in 1956, where he attended high school. An academic, Hemblen was originally working towards a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies when he was discovered during by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Clifford Williams during a student production.

From here, Hemblen would make a successful theatre career for himself, acting and/or directing over 70 productions over the course of his stage career. He received acclaim for his work, particularly his role as Dr. Astov in the Tarragon Theater’s production of Uncle Vanya. The role would even earn him a Dora nomination for Best Leading Actor.

David Hemblen would eventually find recognition in the US through his role as the evil Lord Dread on the short-lived '80s show Captain Power and the Soliders of the Future. He also landed roles on La Femme Nikita and T. and T. and would later join Earth: Final Conflict, the late ‘90s/early 2000s sci-fi show developed from ideas conceived by Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry. On the show, Hemblen portrayed resistance leader Jonathan Doors for four of the show’s five seasons. He’d also land roles in Canadian films like The Sweet Hereafter and Where the Truth Lies.

Of course, the role that earned him in spot in the superhero lexicon is that of Magneto on the hit Fox Kids show, X-Men: The Animated Series. Through all five seasons, Hemblen voiced the character and, while he was an antagonist to Charles Xavier’s mutant team, he proved to be much more than a villain. This gave Hemblen plenty of room to find the humanity with the role. His other notable voiceover credits include Wild C.A.T.S.: Covert Action Teams, Redwall and Ying Yang Yo.

Since Hemblen’s passing was reported, a few Marvel alums have taken to social media to pay their respects. This includes former Marvel digital editor David Gallaher:

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Ben Morse, former director of digital media at Marvel, also mourned Hemblen with a brief tweet. He also retweeted one of Magneto’s best speeches on the show:

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As someone who grew up watching X-Men: The Animated Series, I can definitely attest to the skills that David Hemblen brought to his work. His performance as one of Marvel’s most iconic characters will certainly be remembered for years to come.

We here at CinemaBlend extend our thoughts to the loved ones of David Hemblen during this time.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.