‘Chariots of Fire,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ actor Ian Holm dies

LONDON — Ian Holm, a versatile British actor whose long career included roles in “Chariots of Fire” and “The Lord of the Rings” has died. He was 88.

Holm died peacefully Friday morning in a hospital, surrounded by his family and carer, his agent Alex Irwin said in a statement. His illness was Parkinson’s-related.

“His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye,” Irwin said. “Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”

Holm appeared in scores of movies big and small, from costume dramas to fantasy epics. A generation of moviegoers knows him as Bilbo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies.

He won a British Academy Film Award and gained a supporting-actor Oscar nomination for portraying pioneering athletics coach Sam Mussabini in the hit 1982 film “Chariots of Fire.”

His other movie roles included Father Cornelius in “The Fifth Element,” android Ash in “Alien,” a smooth-talking lawyer in “The Sweet Hereafter,” Napoleon Bonaparte in “Time Bandits,” writer Lewis Carroll in “Dreamchild” and a royal physician in “The Madness of King George.”

He was also a charismatic theater actor who won a Tony Award for best featured actor as Lenny in Harold Pinter’s play “The Homecoming” in 1967.

He was a longtime member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, though a bout of debilitating stage fright that struck during a production of “The Iceman Cometh” in 1976 kept him off the stage for many years.

“I think it happens quite often to actors,” Holm told the Associated Press in 1998. “They lose their nerve. They may think it’s a crazy way to make a living, or whatever. I was fortunately gainfully employed in the other media. I could have frozen in front of a camera, and I would have had to become a chimney sweep or something.”

He returned to live performance and won a 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for best actor for his performance in the title role of “King Lear” at the National Theatre.

Holm was knighted in 1998 for his services to drama.

Mia Farrow said he was “among the giants of the theater.”

“We met while working at the RSC where, mid-performance of Iceman Cometh, terror seized him and he left the stage — for 14 years,” she tweeted. “He worked in films and TV — unfailingly brilliant.”

Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Gregory Doran called Holm “one of the RSC greats”

“Ian was entirely original. Entirely a one-off,” Doran said. “He had a simmering cool, a compressed volcanic sense of ferocity, of danger, a pressure cooker actor, a rare and magnificent talent. There’s a great spirit gone.”

Holm was married four times and had five children.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Jane Powell, Hollywood golden-age musicals star, dies at 92
Most Recent Entertainment News
Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star ... Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star of Hollywood's golden age musicals who sang with Howard Keel in 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' and danced ...
2
'Jeopardy!' hosts: Bialik, Ken Jennings will finish 2021
Most Recent Entertainment News
Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will ... Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will split 'Jeopardy!' hosting duties for the remainder of 2021. Sony Pictures Television announced the plan Thursday, the same ...
3
Alanis Morissette blasts documentary 'Jagged' as 'salacious'
Most Recent Entertainment News
Just hours before the HBO documentary ... Just hours before the HBO documentary 'Jagged' was to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday, Alanis Morissette criticized the film about ...
4
Norm Macdonald, former 'Saturday Night Live' comic, dies
Most Recent Entertainment News
Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former 'Saturday ... Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former 'Saturday Night Live' writer and performer who was 'Weekend Update' host when Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson provided comic ...
5
Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber top star-packed MTV VMAs
Most Recent Entertainment News
Lil Nas X won video of ... Lil Nas X won video of the year at Sundays MTV VMAs on a night that Justin Bieber triumphantly returned to the stage as ...
6
Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of 'Breathless,' dies at 88
Most Recent Entertainment News
Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of the iconic ... Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of the iconic French New Wave film 'Breathless,' whose crooked boxer's nose and rakish grin went on to make him one ...
7
Actor Michael K. Williams, Omar on 'The Wire,' dead ...
Most Recent Entertainment News
Actor Michael K. Williams, who as ... Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on 'The Wire' created one of the most beloved and ...
8
China bans men it sees as not masculine enough ...
Most Recent Entertainment News
China's government banned effeminate men on ... China's government banned effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday to promote 'revolutionary culture,' broadening a campaign to tighten control over business and ...
9
Mike Richards is out as producer of 'Jeopardy!' and ...
Most Recent Entertainment News
Mike Richards is out as executive ... Mike Richards is out as executive producer of 'Jeopardy!', days after he exited as the quiz show's newly appointed host because of past misogynistic ...