Mitchell started his career as a pro bodybuilder, and even won the Mr. Universe title. He also won numerous World Fitness Federation Fitness World Championships, though fans know him better from the movies where his hulking frame fit into the action and fantasy genres perfectly. Mitchell did stunts and played fighters in Braveheart and Gladiator, and plenty of other movies along the same lines. Some of his biggest titles are uncredited, including the James Bond movie Skyfall in 2012.
Gutted to hear about the death of my old friend and actor in three of my films, Mike Mitchell. So long Big Mike. pic.twitter.com/JhSHt4m7PU
— Mark Stirton (@Markstirton) July 23, 2021
According to Mitchell’s bio on IMDb — which he claims to have written himself — his background really begins with military training in the British Armed Forces. After seeing action there, Mitchell became a deep-sea diver and consultant for the oil industry. During this time he took on bodybuilding, other strength sports, sailing and horse riding — all of which played into his movie career down the line.
Mitchell competed in Britain’s Strongest Man, Horse Three Day Eventing and International Regattas in the Mediterranean Sea on his own yacht. By way of strength sports, he found his way into Braveheart, and then continued to work in the entertainment industry for the rest of his life.
Mitchell explained that he had a heart attack in 2006, which slowed his work in the fitness industry considerably and led him to focus on acting. He took on some work beyond stunts, including voice-over work in the last decade.
According to Deadline, Mitchell is survived by his wife, Denise Mitchell, and an unspecified number of children. The family explains that Mitchell died of natural causes, though they have not yet been identified either. Mitchell’s rep told TMZ that his death was a bit of a surprise.
“It was very hard to believe… The sudden death of an international actor we managed, an honest person, a real actor, a true friend, my dear friend, has saddened us deeply. I’ve always been honored to be your manager. I wish patience to you wife, dear Denise Mitchell, and your children,” they said. “Getting to know you and gaining your friendship is invaluable. Sleep in the lights. RIP.”