Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Late Great Sir Ian Holm

Sir Ian Holm, who starred in such movies as Alien (1979), Chariots of Fire (1981), Brazil (1985), and two of the three films in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, died on June 19 2020 at the age of 88.

Sir Ian Holm was born on September 12 1931 in Goodmayes, Essex. His father was a psychiatrist and superintendent at the West Ham Corporation Mental Hospital. His mother was a nurse. He attended Chigwell School in Essex. He took an interest in acting while very young. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, with his studies there interrupted by National Service in the British Army. He graduated from RADA in 1953. He went on to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford and became part of the Royal Shakespeare Company when it was founded in 1960.

Sir Ian Holm made his London stage debut in 1956 in a production of Love Affair. He  made his television debut in 1957 in episodes of ITV Play of the Week.  In the late Fifties he appeared in television productions of Robert's Wife and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In the Sixties he appeared in the mini-series The War of the Roses, playing Richard of Gloucester. He appeared on the TV series Theatre Night, The Power Game, Mystery and Imagination, The Wednesday Play, ITV Saturday Night Theatre, and Armchair Theatre. He appeared in the movies The Bofors Gun (1968), The Fixer (1968), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1969), and Oh! What a Lovely War (1969). He appeared on Broadway in 1967 in The Homecoming.

In the Seventies Mr. Holm appeared in the mini-series Napoleon and Love, Conjugal Rights, The Lives of Benjamin Franklin, Jesus of Nazareth, and We, the Accused. He appeared on the TV shows Review, ITV Playhouse, The Man from Haven, The Frighteners, Orson Welles' Great Mysteries, Masquerade, BBC Play of the Month, Jubilee, and The Lost Boys. He appeared in the movies A Severed Head (1971), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Young Winston (1972), The Homecoming (1973), Juggernaut (1974), Robin and Marian (1973), Juggernaut (1974), Robin and Marian (1976), Shout at the Devil (1976), March or Die (1977), and Alien (1979).

In the Eighties Sir Ian Holm appeared in the movies Chariots of Fire (1981), Time Bandits (1981), The Return of the Soldier (1982), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), Laughterhouse (1984), Brazil (1985), Wetherby (1985), Dance with a Stranger (1985), Dreamchild (1985), Another Woman (1988), Henry V (1989), and Hamlet (1990). He appeared on the TV series The Bell, Tales of the Unexpected; Play for Today; Artists and Models; and Game, Set, and Match. He appeared in the mini-series The Endless Game.

In the Nineties Mr. Holm appeared in the movies Kafka (1991), Naked Lunch (1991), Blue Ice (1992), The Hour of the Pig (1993), Frankenstein (1994), The Madness of King George (1994), Big Night (1996), Loch Ness (1996), Night Falls on Manhattan (1996), The Fifth Element (1997), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), eXistenZ (1999), Simon Magus (1999), Shergar (1999), The Match (1999), Joe Gould's Secret (2000), Esther Kahn (2000), Beautiful Joe (2000), and Bless the Child (2000). On television he appeared in the mini-series The Borrowers.  He appeared in the TV series Screen Two, Chillers, The Return of the Borrowers, and Performance. He was the voice of Squealer in a TV movie adaptation of Animal Farm.

In the Naughts Sir Ian Holm appeared in the movies From Hell (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Garden State (2004), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Aviator (2004), Strangers with Candy (2005), Chromophobia (2005), Lord of War (2005), The Treatment (2006), and O Jerusalem (2006). He provided voices for the animated films The Emperor's New Clothes (2001) and Ratatouille (2007).  In the Teens he appeared in the films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).

Sir Ian Holm was an actor of incredible talent who gave a number of impressive performances and played a diverse number of roles. Among his best was lawyer Mitchell Stephens in The Sweet Hereafter, whose relationship with his drug addict daughter was very strained. Among his best known roles is Ash in Alien, the relatively emotionless and logical science officer of the Nostromo. In Brazil he was the anxiety-ridden Kurtzmann. He played some very famous figures from both history and literature. He played Napoleon multiple times, in the TV mini-series Napoleon and Love and the movies Time Bandits and The Emperor's New Groove. And, of course, he was Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. In Robin and Marian he played King John. Sir Ian Holm won multiple BAFTA awards, as well as numerous other awards. Given his talent in delivering great performances in multiple roles, there should be little wonder why.

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