UPDATE – our tribute to Ian Holm!

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

UPDATE – Check out our tribute to Ian Holm above!

Some sad news to report this morning. Ian Holm, the versatile British actor who earned an Oscar nomination for his role in CHARIOTS OF FIRE and became known to a new generation playing hobbit Bilbo Baggins in THE LORD OF THE RING and THE HOBBIT films, has passed away at the age of 88. His agent was quoted by "The Guardian" saying that he died "peacefully in hospital" and that his illness was Parkinson's related. 

At 5-foot-6, Holm was born Ian Holm Cuthbert on September 12, 1931, in Goodmayes, England. Holm studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then spent a decade at the Royal Shakespeare Company starting in 1954. From there, Holm made several appearances on British television in the early 1960s, including a stint as King Richard III in the BBC miniseries The Wars of the Roses.

In 1965, Holm starred as Lenny, one of the sons of a retired butcher, in the first staging of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. Holm would go on to accompany the play to Broadway two years later where he would win a Tony Award for his efforts. Holm reprised the role for the 1973 film adaptation which was directed by Peter Hall.

The chameleon-like actor made his presence known in a variety of films that still hold prominence today. Holm gained the admiration of many sci-fi fans by playing Ash, the decapitated android that just keeps on going, in Ridley Scott's ALIEN in 1979. He would also go on to play the office manager Mr. Kurtzmann in another sci-fi classic, Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL in 1985.

Holm achieved true film success by being acknowledged by his peers for playing eccentric track coach Sam Mussabini in the historical sporting drama CHARIOTS OF FIRE in 1981. The film, which is a beloved piece of British cinema, took home the Oscar for Best Picture and earned Holm a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 

Although Holm appeared in a slew of other films such as NIGHT FALLS ON MANHATTAN, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, GARDEN STATE, FROM HELL, and THE AVIATOR, his noticeably short stature made him perfect for another role that he is perhaps the most known for by a younger generation of moviegoers. Holm portrayed Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's THE LORD OF THE RINGS. He appeared in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE RETURN OF THE KING, and THE HOBBIT installments AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES.

For such a storied and legendary career, Holm was named a Commander of the British Empire in 1989 and he was knighted nine years later. Holm also published his memoir, "Acting My Life", in 2004. The actor was married four times throughout his life and at the time of his passing was in a year-long relationship with a photographer. 

Holm is survived by his five children.

Ian Holm is certainly an actor that will be missed. Just going through his filmography, I forgot about so many roles or films that I was familiar with that he starred in. His role in ALIEN sticks with me the most because it was the first of his that I saw as a kid. What are some of YOUR favorite Ian Holm roles or films?

Source: The Guardian

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