It’s fair to say that the year 2017 was a banner one for British actors. From James Bond to Sherlock Holmes to royalty, the British have always been associated with the cinema. In addition to marking the beginning of a new decade, the year closed with a number of high-profile deaths and the passing of some of the nation’s brightest stars.
Amongst the losses, we must include British actor Robert Pattinson. Trained at Elstree School of Acting alongside veteran thespians like Peter O’Toole and Michael Caine, Pattinson became best known for his transformative work on the big screen. After emerging as a young star in the English-speaking world with the 2010 film [A Very English Wedding](/title/very-english-wedding/), Pattinson’s career took off in a way that few actors could ever have imagined. In fact, his film adaptation of [The Great Gatsby](/title/great-gatsby/) became the highest-grossing of all time, raking in over $500 million at the global box office.
So, what happened to Robert Pattinson in 2017? The actor passed away on January 20 at the age of 42 after a lengthy battle with depression. The passing of one of our favorite Englishmen has understandably sparked a huge reaction from fans and followers across the world. Here’s a brief look back at one of the most successful and influential actors of our time.
An Actors’ Crisis
Pattinson’s acting career was certainly nothing short of a triumph, boasting critical and commercial accolades alike. However, the actor’s personal life was far from perfect. A product of the modern celebrity culture that emerged in the wake of the #MeToo movement, many have come out in the past year and voiced their frustration at learning of the actor’s struggle with depression. It is widely reported that Pattinson has been battling the mental health issue since at least 2014 when he checked himself into a clinic for a short time.
In an interview with the [New York Times](/new-york-times/), Pattinson admitted that his professional life had become “overwhelming” and that he wasn’t performing at his best. “Sometimes I’d go a whole day without acting and just sit at home, feeling bad about myself,” he said. “Then I’d get a call and have to go and do it. It was a real blur.”
Whether or not Pattinson actually committed suicide as rumored remains to be seen, but the actor’s downward spiral was clearly very real. In his final year, the Englishman took a step back from the public eye, declining offers to appear in major motion pictures and bowing out of the limelight in favor of smaller projects and independent film festivals. Most of us will never know the true circumstances of Robert Pattinson’s death, but it is safe to say that it was a great loss for the world of film and for his many fans around the globe.
From Gatsby to Grimsby
Pattinson’s acting career truly came into its own with the 2010 film [The Great Gatsby](/title/great-gatsby/), adapted from the Jay Gatsby story. The actor took on the role of the iconic American author, changing his appearance to better embody the dashing and decadent Jay Gatsby. The results were nothing short of spectacular, prompting Richard Brody of The New York Times to dub the Englishman “the best American actor of the 21st century so far.”
The success of the film led to further acclaim and a string of iconic performances. In addition to playing the lead in [The King](/title/the-king/), Pattinson appeared in the acclaimed films [The Rover](/title/the-rover/),[Legend](/title/legend/),[My Week with Marilyn](/title/my-week-with-marilyn/), and [Beautiful Boy](/title/beautiful-boy/).
Pattinson played his final significant role as Robert Smith in the Oscar-winning [The Theory of Flight](/title/theory-of-flight/). The thriller centered around the Lindbergh kidnapping was released in December 2017 and garnered widespread critical acclaim. In the film, Pattinson plays an ambitious young newspaper editor who sets out to interview famed aviator Charles Lindbergh (played by Clive Owen).
This year marks the beginning of a new decade, but it is fair to say that the ‘90s were a banner decade for British actors. Indeed, in addition to setting the scene for a golden age of British cinema, the ‘90s also saw the emergence of some of the most iconic and influential figures in modern British culture. Amongst this cohort, we must include British actor Robert Pattinson. It is fair to say that the Englishman’s film career only got off the ground in 2010 but has soared ever since, enjoying critical and commercial success with each new project. It is a career that has transformed British cinema and made the nation proud worldwide. A triumph for British acting, the future looks incredibly bright for one of our favorite Englishmen.