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St. Julien

Remembering Werner and Darius

by tirnanog
Tomorrow, 7 April, is the birthday of Werner Stocker, the German actor who played Darius in the first season of Highlander. His untimely death from cancer in May 1993 was a tragic loss. He was 38 years old. I hope that everyone will take a moment to remember one who made such an unforgettable contribution to the series, although he only appeared in a few episodes.

I'm not easily moved, so my own reaction to his work took me by surprise. He really got to me. His portrayal of Darius was so compelling that after I saw those episodes, I felt as if I had come to know, grown to care about, and then irretrievably lost a very close friend. When I learned later on that Werner himself had died, I felt as if I had lost yet another. I was devastated. The rational part of me couldn't fathom why. Darius was a fiction, and Werner was a total stranger about whom I knew nothing. What was Darius to Werner or Werner to Darius? And what were they to me, at such a distance of time and place, that I should weep for them? Yet I did, and still do. Because of an idea of a man, brought to life by another man, who was gone from this life before I even knew he existed. Who was he? What was he like? I only wish I knew more. All I have to go by is an image on film, a voice on tape, with the power to touch, and to wound. Highlander is a series that quite literally lives by the sword, but for me, this image of one gentle soul wields a greater power still, and has become Immortal in ways its creators probably never imagined.

Thank you Werner, "...stiller Freund der vielen Fernen," whom I shall never know, yet feel somehow as if I do. You and Darius are greatly missed and not forgotten.

(Originally posted to the Rysher Highlander Forum on 6 April 1997).
This essay is Copyright ©1997 by tirnanog and may not be reproduced without permission.

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