Sir Ian Holm, whose career in theater, radio, TV, and film spanned decades and included everything from Shakespeare to some of the most iconic sci-fi and fantasy films of all-time, died Friday morning. He was 88.
“It is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88,” Holm’s agent said in a statement provided to The Guardian. “He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer. Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”
The agent added that Holm’s death was due to an illness related to Parkinson’s disease.
Holm got his start in theater, having graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and became a player in the Royal Shakespeare Company, and some of his earliest roles in TV and film were Shakespearean adaptations or historical dramas. But one of his first mainstream successes was playing the android Ash in the 1979 film Alien.
His work across genre film is extensive and includes everything from The Fifth Element and From Hell, but perhaps the role people will know him best as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (He also happened to voice Frodo Baggins in a BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.) During his career, Holm won a Tony Award, two BAFTA awards, and an Olivier Award for his performance in King Lear. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Chariots of Fire, and he was knighted in 1998 for services to drama.
“RIP Ian Holm, a genius actor who brought considerable presence to parts funny, heartbreaking & terrifying,” director Edgar Wright tweeted. “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.’”
Although Holm wasn’t able to attend the recent Lord of the Rings reunion on Josh Gad’s YouTube show Reunited Apart, he sent a brief note to the cast and crew who did gather virtually
“I miss you all, and I hope your adventures are taking you to many places,” he said.
H/T Rolling Stone