Ian Holm is dead. The Guardian reported that the actor, who was best known for his work in films like Alien and The Lord of the Rings franchise, has died at the age of 88. Holm died of complications related to Parkinson’s disease.
“It is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88. He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer. Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely,” his agent said in a statement.
In addition to his roles in Alien and the Lord of the Rings franchise, Holm was also known as an adept actor on both stage and screen. He won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. He also had parts in science fiction films like Brazil and The Fifth Element.
Holm Was A Shakespearean Actor First
Holm was born in 1931 in Essex in the U.K., and he fell in love with acting at an early age. Although he eventually took on a number of iconic movie roles, Holm was first known for his performances on the stage. He was part of the Royal Shakespeare Company when it was founded in 1960, and won an Evening Standard best actor award for his work in Henry V in 1965.
He eventually made his way to the U.S. with a Broadway production of The Homecoming, which he’d also starred in on the British stage. The performance won him a Tony, and he would also star in a film adaptation of the play. After suffering from severe stage fright during a performance of The Iceman Cometh, Holm stepped away from stage acting to cultivate a career onscreen.
His first international exposure came with his portrayal of the android Ash in Alien, directed by Ridley Scott. Off of the strength of his performance in that role, he was cast in Chariots of Fire, which cemented him as a regular Hollywood character actor for decades to come.
Holm Played Bilbo In ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ And ‘Hobbit’ Franchises
RIP Ian Holm, a genius actor who brought considerable presence to parts funny, heartbreaking & terrifying. Thanks for Bilbo, Napoleon (twice), Sweet Hereafter, Big Night, Brazil and, of course the iconic Ash. "I can't lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies." pic.twitter.com/tO9tcydVUK
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) June 19, 2020
In addition to his work in films like Big Night, The Madness of King George, and The Sweet Hereafter, Holm was perhaps best known for playing the elderly Bilbo Baggins in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises. Holm played an essential role in the early portion of The Fellowship of the Ring and then appeared again in scattered scenes throughout the series.
When the cast of the Lord of the Rings franchise reunited earlier this month, Holm sent his regrets because he was unable to join.
“I am sorry to not see you in person, I miss you all and hope your adventures have taken you to many places, I am in lockdown in my hobbit home, or holm,” he wrote at the time.
Holm was also known as something of a Lothario in the latter part of his life, The Guardian reports. He was married four times and is survived by his fourth wife, Sophie de Stempel, his third wife, Penelope Wilton, and five children from previous relationships.