Actor Jay Benedict, who starred in sci-if epic Aliens, The Dark Knight Rises and English soap Emmerdale, has died at the age of 68 after contracting coronavirus.

In a statement posted on his official website, his management team wrote: "It is with profound sorrow that we must announce Jay's death on the 4th of April due to complications arising from a COVID-19 infection." a post on his official website said. 

As well as acting, he and his wife, Phoebe Scholfield, with whom he had two children, ran the Sync or Swim post-production company which provides automated dialogue replacement services to the movie and TV industry. 

Their recent projects include Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife, Dickensian, and Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands.

"Jay was born in California, but his family left the United States for Europe when he was a child," his management team have said. 

"As a legacy of his itinerant childhood, he is English/French bilingual, and no slouch in Spanish and German, either.

"People meeting him in 'real-life' are surprised that he sounds more English than American – but so would you if you'd lived in Europe for 50-odd years (some of them very odd indeed). This doesn’t, however, prevent most casting agents from insisting that he play Americans - which he does happily and, not entirely surprisingly, like a native."

They added: "He's probably best known today for his two appearances as John Kieffer - the US Army officer and friend of Christopher Foyle - in Foyle’s War, but in his varied career he has danced with the legendary Zizi Jeanmaire at Le Casino De Paris, played almost every male role in The Rocky Horror Show in the early 1970s (given half a chance, he'd probably have had a crack at the female ones, too …) and has appeared frequently on stage in both straight drama and musical theatre."