October 17, 1971 – 11 September 2011.
British actor of huge promise, whose breakout role in Spartacus proved to be his last significant work. Originally an engineer on relocating to Australia, Whitfield turned to acting in his 30s and had single episode roles in a number of Australian TV series. He played the lead role of Archangel Gabriel in 2007 Gabriel, and Australian horror-action film produced on a shoestring budget. In 2010, still a relative unknown, Whitfield was cast as Spartacus, the enslaved Thracian gladiator who led an uprising against the Romans in the Starz miniseries Spartacus: Blood and Sand. On the surface an absurd excuse to cram as much blood and as many breasts as possible into an hour, it was at heart a compelling, well-shot series, with Whitfield’s measured performance the standout part. Production on a second season was delayed after Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leading to Gods of the Arena, a prequel in which Whitfield had only a vocal cameo. Whitfield made an apparently full recovery, but his disease soon returned aggressively. He was replaced in the role by Liam McIntyre, and died in September 2011, aged 39.