Hollywood actor also known for his work on the Scottish stage

Born: January 3, 1941;

Died: June 29, 2018

DERRICK O’Connor, who has died of pneumonia aged 77, appeared in blockbusters alongside Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Depp, but it was in Edinburgh that he honed his acting talents in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

O’Connor had the distinction of going head to head with Gibson and Schwarzenegger at a time when they were the biggest stars in Hollywood – and being killed off by each in turn. And latterly he made his home in Santa Barbara, California.

But that was just the final chapter in a life story that began in Ireland and included stops in England, Scotland and Australia along the way.

O’Connor was born in Dublin in 1941, but grew up in London. Pursuing a career as a professional actor he found work in Edinburgh, with the Traverse - where he appeared in several avant-garde and cutting-edge productions, and then with the Royal Lyceum, where he appeared in The Taming of the Shrew, The Caretaker and Oh! What a Lovely War.

By the early 1970s he was also getting occasional roles in film and television and early screen credits include Z-Cars (1969 and 1970) and the sci-fi film The Final Programme (1973).

A lengthy association with Terry Gilliam and the Monty Python team began with Jabberwocky, the 1977 fantasy film inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem - he was credited as “flying hogfish peasant”.

He went on to make two more films under Gilliam’s direction, Time Bandits (1981), playing a robber who communicates with grunts, and the Kafkaesque Brazil (1985), where he and Bob Hoskins played sinister government types and O’Connor echoed everything Hoskins said.

Former Python star Michael Palin also appeared in all three Gilliam films and O’Connor worked with him again on The Missionary (1982) before heading for Australia and a rare lead role in the comedy-drama series Stringer (1988), about a journalist who links up with a taxi driver to pursue new business ventures.

O’Connor’s Hollywood break came in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) when he dyed his hair blonde and adopted a South African accent to play a particularly nasty and cold-blooded killer involved in illegal drugs.

The first Lethal Weapon began with Gibson’s character Martin Riggs feeling suicidal following the death of his wife in a car accident. In a nice plot twist in the sequel, O’Connor’s character reveals that he killed Riggs’s wife by accident because he thought Riggs was driving.

CinemaBlend website said: “Not enough good things can be said about what Derrick O’Connor brought to Lethal Weapon 2, as Pieter Vorstedt remains one of the franchise’s best characters… If you are looking for a reminder of how strong his performance was in that particular film, you can check out the scene in which he reveals that he murdered Riggs’s wife.”

Having decided to stay on in the US, he played a demented priest, announcing the coming of the Dark Angel, in End of Days (1999); a crime boss in the television series Alias (2002); a slightly more benign priest, offering advice to Ben Affleck, in the superhero movie Daredevil (2003); and an old man signing up with Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006).

O’Connor also continued to work in theatre in California, both as actor and director. He is survived by his wife Mimi and son Max.