Ian Holm, actor known for Chariots of Fire and Lord of the Rings, dead at 88
Shakespearean actor known for mainstream, indie films knighted in 1998
Ian Holm, a versatile British actor whose long career included roles in Chariots of Fire and The Lord of the Rings franchise has died. He was 88.
Holm died peacefully Friday morning in a hospital, surrounded by his family, his agent Alex Irwin said in a statement. His illness was related to Parkinson's disease.
"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.
So sad to hear that the singular, brilliant and vibrant, Sir Ian Holm has passed. Farewell, uncle. <a href="https://t.co/q9RBKT3hBC">pic.twitter.com/q9RBKT3hBC</a>—@elijahwood
He responded to absolutely everything. Which made you feel that everything you did mattered. <a href="https://t.co/dYoswhHuev">https://t.co/dYoswhHuev</a>—@realsarahpolley
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.
Ian Holm took a chance on me and said yes to being in “Garden State” when I had yet to make any other films. He could not have been more supportive and kind and humble. I am so honored I got the opportunity to work with an actor of his legendary caliber. Rest In Peace. <a href="https://t.co/lRJV5aVEJx">pic.twitter.com/lRJV5aVEJx</a>—@zachbraff
The dearest and the most talented. Incredibly sad to hear <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IanHolm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IanHolm</a> is gone. Big Night will always be my favourite. <a href="https://t.co/psnybp3Qv2">pic.twitter.com/psnybp3Qv2</a>—@driverminnie
He was also a charismatic theatre 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."
Such a fabulous actor, always totally committed, from Alien and Dance With a Stranger to Time Bandits, Brazil and the Hobbit films, could spin emotion on a sixpence. RIP <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IanHolm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IanHolm</a> <a href="https://t.co/cX2PpGysJ6">https://t.co/cX2PpGysJ6</a>—@TVSanjeev
“It is never ‘too much,’ it is only ‘not enough’! Bite your teeth into the ass of life and drag it to you.”—R.I.P. to the legendary <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IanHolm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IanHolm</a> who has passed away at the age of 88. <a href="https://t.co/2He68WeKiz">pic.twitter.com/2He68WeKiz</a>—@ThePlaylist
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 theatre."
"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.