Andy Whitfield (October 17, 1971 - September 11, 2011) was a Welsh Australian actor. He was best known for his leading role in the Starz television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Whitfield was born in Amlwch, Anglesey, Wales. He studied construction at Sheffield Hallam University, England and worked in Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia as an engineer before settling in Sydney in 1999. He appeared in several Australian television series, such as Opening Up
, All Saints
, The Stri
p, Packed To The Rafters
, and McLeod's Daughters
Whitfield gained his first prominent role in the Australian supernatural film Gabriel
. He also starred in the 2010 television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand
, which was filmed in New Zealand. He portrays a version of the historical Spartacus, although in this retelling he is a conscripted soldier condemned to death who defeats all four of his executioners
and is thereby recycled as a gladiator
. The actual Spartacus, like this fictional version, was destined to lead a rebellion against the Romans (the Third Servile War). Whitfield also appeared in the Australian thriller The Clinic
starring opposite Tabrett Bethell (of Legend of the Seeker
fame) which was shot in Deniliquin.
In March 2010, Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and began undergoing treatment immediately in New Zealand. This delayed production
of season two of Spartacus: Vengeance. While waiting for Whitfield's treatment and expected recovery, the network produced a six-part prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
, with only a brief uncredited voiceover from the actor. Although declared cancer-free in June 2010, a routine medical in September 2010 revealed a relapse and Whitfield was compelled to abandon the role. Starz recast Australian actor Liam McIntyre as Whitfield's successor
In August 2010, Whitfield teamed up with Freddie Wong and created a 2-minute YouTube
video named "Time Crisis
", based on the game with the same name. Whitfield made a brief, uncredited voice-only appearance in the prequel mini-series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which premiered on 21 January 2011.
Whitfield died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Sydney, Australia, on 11 September 2011, 18 months after his initial cancer diagnosis.
- Author Existence Failure: He died before completing the entire Spartacus series, specifically prior to filming the second season.
- Guttural Growler: Famously in Spartacus.
- In Memoriam: Spartacus honored him during its second season premiere and Grand Finale.
- Protagonist Title: Gabriel and Spartacus.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The Spartacus series higher-ups were forced to write a Prequel mini-season before producing the actual second season to give him time to recover. He did recovered, but the illness resurfaced shortly which forced the recasting of the title character.
- Reality Subtext: Due to him portraying a formidable gladiator who opposes tyranny on-screen, and then trying to fight Cancer in Real Life shortly after, fans and his co-stars in Spartcaus dub him as Badass.
- Short-Lived Big Impact: Despite only appearing in the inaugural season note of Spartacus, he is considered the star of the show by pretty much everyone, co-stars and audiences of the show alike, and his strong and critically-acclaimed performance in said season guaranteed the show to complete its run even after his demise. Even his successor humbly stated that he hated the fact that he had to replace him.
(His In Memoriam
in the show after its 2nd Season premiere) A champion on screen, a legend in our hearts.
- Star-Making Role: Spartacus gave him international recognition.
"Your lives are your own. Forge your own path, or join with us. And together, WE SHALL SEE ROME TREMBLE!!"