Werner Stocker (actor)

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Werner Stocker
File:Werner Stocker Darius1.jpg
Werner Stocker as Darius in Highlander: The Series
Born (1955-04-07)April 7, 1955
Flintsbach am Inn, Bavaria, Germany
Died May 27, 1993(1993-05-27) (aged 38)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Years active 1982–1993
Awards Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Actor
1988 Herbstmilch

Werner Stocker (April 7, 1955 – May 27, 1993) was a German actor. He studied acting at the de (Neue Münchner Schauspielschule) and at the Otto Falckenberg School of the Performing Arts.

Stocker appeared in the 1987 American TV movie The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission.

Highlander: The Series

Werner Stocker also featured in the fantasy hit Highlander: The Series as Darius, a 2,000-year-old immortal priest.

The script of the episode "Band of Brothers" describes Darius as a monk with a "hideously ugly face",[1] but when the producers cast the part, they chose Stocker, who did not fit this description. Creative Consultant David Abramovitz explains, "Darius, originally in the script, was written as almost to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, to be physically ugly and with a glorious soul. And when I got to France, I noticed that they cast this young, handsome German actor named Werner Stocker. I said, 'Wait a minute. What's going on here? He's supposed to be ugly.' And it seemed that the Germans, who were putting up a great deal of money, didn't want the only German actor in the show to be ugly; so he wasn't ugly. And this was one of the cases where politics won out and it didn't hurt anything because he was wonderful in the part."[2]

Associate Creative Consultant Donna Lettow says about Darius' character development, "It was always planned that Darius would die in "The Hunters". The original plan for Darius was that he would reappear in flashbacks, much like Fitzcairn does now." [3] Abramovitz confirms, "Darius would have played a bigger part in the show, but Werner passed away."[4] Stocker's unexpected illness effectively prevented this. Producer Bill Panzer remembers that Stocker "had announced that he had a brain tumor,"[5] and that it happened "before we started shooting ["The Hunters"], just before. It involved a tremendous amount of rewriting."[6] The season 1 promotional booklet recounts, "Just days before going into production actor Werner Stocker was stricken ill and was unable to work. By now the character of Darius had become an integral part of the story and the writers had to scramble to adjust the story line."[7] Abramovitz recalls, "This was the episode when we learned that Werner Stocker was extremely ill. (...) I got a call at three o'clock in the morning, saying Werner would not be available, we were shooting in a day and a half, and there was fear if we were going to have to shut down. I went into work, wrote twenty-five straight hours, without a break, and got out a script and the show went on and it turned out pretty well."[7] The promotional booklet further says, "Footage from previous episodes was successfully used to fill in for the absent actor and the season finale went on to mark a huge shift in the Highlander saga, forever altering the future of the series with the introduction of "Hunters" and "Watchers"."[7]

Commenting on Stocker's performance as Darius, Abramovitz says, "He had an elegance, presence, and I was happy with the episode "Band of Brothers"."[2] Adrian Paul thinks, "[He] had a very ethereal quality himself and I think Werner played [Darius] very well."[8] The promotional booklet reports that Darius was "played with soulful grace by (...) Stocker. Stocker was an instant hit with fans."[7] Stocker died on May 27, 1993 of a brain tumor. The episodes "Unholy Alliance" and "Unholy Alliance Part Two" are dedicated to him.[9][10]



The Hunters (1993) … Darius
Saving Grace (1993) … Darius
The Beast Below (1993) … Darius
For Tomorrow We Die (1993) … Darius
Band of Brothers (1993) … Darius

See also


  1. Episode "Band of Brothers", Final shooting script, p. 1, in Highlander the Series (season 1) (DVD, Davis-Panzer Productions, Inc., 2001), disc 9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 David Abramovitz, at Highlander: The Official Site at the Wayback Machine (archived August 29, 2003), last accessed February 1, 2007
  3. Donna Lettow, at Highlander_Worldwide, last accessed January 26, 2007
  4. David Abramovitz, in Scott Thomas, There Can Be Only One, Retrovision, n°1, November 1997 issue, p. 47.
  5. Episode "Band of Brothers", Bonus Material, Bill Panzer's interview, in Highlander: The Series (season 1) (DVD, Davis-Panzer Productions, Inc., 2001), disc 5.
  6. Episode "The Hunters", Bonus Material, Bill Panzer's interview, in Highlander: The Series (season 1) (DVD, Davis-Panzer Productions, Inc., 2001), disc 8.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Season 1 promotional booklet, in Highlander: The Series (season 1), (DVD, Davis-Panzer Productions, Inc., 2001)
  8. Adrian Paul, AOL Live Chat, May 1997, transcript, last accessed February 1, 2007
  9. Episode "Unholy Alliance", in Highlander: The Series (season 2) (DVD, Davis-Panzer Productions and Gétévé, 2003), disk 5.
  10. Episode "Unholy Alliance, Part II", in Highlander: The Series (season 2) (DVD, Davis-Panzer Productions and Gétévé, 2003), disk 5.
  11. Bavarian Film Awards official site (in German), last accessed November 24, 2007

External links