Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Lord of the Rings' and 'Chariots of Fire' Star Ian Holm Dead at 88


No matter what genre of film you fancy, you’ve probably seen Sir Ian Holm at some point or another. A versatile supporting actor, the talented 88-year-old died Friday due to Parkinson’s-related causes.

“It is with great sadness we can confirm that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88,” his agent revealed in a statement, according to BBC. “He died peacefully in hospital with his family and carer.”

Holm appeared in over 90 films, according to his BBC obituary, which called him “the consummate supporting actor, happy to let others bask in the limelight of stardom.”

He didn’t seem to mind the fact that he was never the lead, preferring to dodge what he called the “dread of responsibility” that comes with front-and-center roles.

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“As an actor, I’m very much a company person,” Holm said. “I have a dread of responsibility. I like someone else to be in charge.”

During his younger years, Holm was bullied in school. He eventually found his place on the stage, and theater became his safety.

For years he performed, fancying renditions of Shakespeare and developing his talent, but in 1976 he left the stage for nearly 20 years after suffering from a sudden, severe attack of stage fright.

Venturing into film, it wasn’t long before the actor was landing recognizable roles. Playing an android in the 1979 “Alien,” Holm found the work gruesome.

“It wasn’t a particularly pleasant film to do,” he said, according to the BBC. “It was 16 weeks of bloody hard work down at Shepperton Studios.”

Two years later, he was professional coach Sam Mussabini in “Chariots of Fire.” For his role, he received an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA award — one of six for which he would be nominated.

In 1988 and 1989, Holm was given a knighthood and a Commander of the British Empire award for his “contribution to drama.”

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He took on what for many was his most recognizable role — as Bilbo Baggins in the 2001 “Fellowship of the Rings” — after having played Frodo on BBC Radio years before.

“I’m never the same twice,” Holm told the Los Angeles Times in 2000, “and I’m not a movie star-type, so people don’t demand that I’m always the same.”

His presence in a variety of roles across many films will ensure his place in minds and hearts for years to come.

“His portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings trilogies ensured the magic of his craft could be shared by all generations,” his agent said in a statement, according to CNN.

“He was a genius of stage and screen, winning multiple awards, and loved by directors, audiences and his colleagues alike. His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”

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