LONDON • Oscar-nominated British actor Ian Holm, famed for his roles in Hollywood blockbusters Lord Of The Rings, and Alien, has died aged 88, his agent said yesterday.
Nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Olympic running coach Sam Mussabini in the 1981 award-winning film Chariots Of Fire, Holm appeared in a host of top international films.
He played the main antagonist Ash in the first Alien movie, and also had roles in The Madness Of King George, and The Aviator.
“It is with great sadness we can confirm that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88,” Mr Alex Irwin of Markham, Froggatt & Irwin said.
“He died peacefully in hospital with his family and carer. Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”
Holm had a Parkinson’s-related illness, the statement said.
His portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy secured his fame in later life.
He reprised the role, at the age of 81, for The Hobbit.
But he had already established himself before that as a star of the theatre with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s, and appeared regularly on British TV.
In 1976, he suffered a sudden attack of stage fright during a production of The Iceman Cometh, which forced him to stop performing, reported the BBC.
Apart from two brief appearances, he did not return to the stage for 18 years. His career was rescued by his TV and film work, which won him several awards.
As well as his Oscar nomination, he was also nominated for six British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards.
He won a Bafta for his performance in Chariots Of Fire.
Bafta said it was “very sorry” to hear of his death, reported Agence France-Presse.
Holm eventually returned to the stage in 1993 to star in the premiere of Harold Pinter’s play Moonlight, reported the BBC. Pinter was said to have described Holm as his favourite performer, “an actor of total integrity”.
Holm received a knighthood, which carries the title “Sir”, in 1998 for his contribution to drama.
He had in 1989 received the CBE, the highest ranking Order of the British Empire award.
According to The Guardian, Holm had earlier this month expressed his sadness that he was unable to participate in a virtual reunion for the Lord Of The Rings films.
“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 said.
He is survived by his fourth wife, Sophie de Stempel, and five children from previous relationships, as well as the actress Penelope Wilton, who was his third wife, reported The Guardian.