Roger Hill had a short career in film, but for those who saw the iconic film The Warriors, he will be remembered simply as Cyrus. The film has become a cult classic, and while his name may not be well-known to most people, his character played an intricate part in the film.
Hill was a life-long resident of New York City, and died in his hometown on Thursday morning. After being born and raised in New York, he attended City College of New York. He is survived by his only son, Chris Hill, who is a film editor.
The film features Roger Hill as Cyrus, the leader of the one of the gangs in New York City, while the film focuses on several gangs fighting for territory. Cyrus is shot down at the beginning of the film while delivering a public speech to several gangs, while hoping to unite all of the street gangs in New York City.
He was cast in the film after a real life gang member mysteriously went missing just before the film’s director, Walter Hill, had expected to start filming the classic 1979 film.
After Cyrus’ death, the warriors are falsely blamed, and are forced to fight their way home throughout the course of a single night as the other gangs try to take them down.
If you haven't heard, Roger Hill, who played gang leader Cyrus in The Warriors, has died. The twist is, I told everyone that you did it.
— Andrew Wheeler (@Wheeler) February 26, 2014
The film was based on a novel by Sol Yurick, and later inspired a video game of the same title from Rockstar Games that was made for the Playstation 2 and Xbox. As the character continued a life of its own in the game, Roger Hill took notice, and ended up filing a lawsuit of $250,000 against Rockstar Games for using his voice and depicting him in their game.
None of the actors present in the film were well-known at the time, which made it feel much more natural for each of them to represent members of street gangs. The Warriors also helped launch iconic quotes such as the plea that Cyrus uttered as he was killed, saying “Can you dig it?” and the famous “Warriors…come out to play” line.
In his later years, Roger Hill had left his acting career, and had been working as a librarian, while also writing poetry. He began a career in theater, and spent time appearing in several Off-Broadway productions.
He retired from acting in 1987 after an 18-year career that was spent mostly in theater, while being most well-known for his iconic role as Cyrus in The Warriors.
Image via Youtube