Sir Ian Holm, who played Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, died Friday at the age of 88 from Parkinson’s Disease.
Holm’s agent confirmed the death to the Guardian along with a statement.
“It is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88,” they said. “He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer. Charming, kind, and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”
Holm has been in more than 100 films and TV shows over his career which spanned 55 years, according to IMBD. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and was knighted for his services to drama in 1988. His TV debut was in 1965 when Holm played King Richard III on the BBC’s The Wars of the Roses.
He is survived by five adult children and his wife, Sophie de Stempel.
Here is what you need to know about Ian Holm:
Ian Holm Knew He Wanted to be an Actor Since he was 7 & Became a Renowned Shakespearean Actor in His Early Years
Holm was born on Sept. 12, 1931, to Scottish parents who worked at a mental asylum in Essex, England. His father was a psychiatrist and his mother was a nurse. The family surname name was Cuthbert and Holm’s name at birth was Ian Holm Cuthbert.
According to IMDB, Holm was ultimately raised in London. it was there that’s he saw Les Miserables at the age of 7 and found his inspiration to become an actor.
Holm learned some of the art of acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he graduated from in 1950. From there he honed his skills at the Royal Shakespeare Company. According to IMBD, Holm “emerged as an actor whose range and effortless style allowed him to play almost entire Shakespeare’s repertoire.”
Since the mid-1960’s Holm’s acting gigs were steady. He regularly appeared in TV shows and films in the UK throughout the late 1960s through the 1970s.
2. In 1979 He Made his American Film Debut in ‘Alien’
In 1979 Holm played the part of Ash in the iconic thriller, Alien. Spoiler alert: The character turns out to be an android. The scene in which Ash is in pieces is among the most memorable, and some would say most disturbing, of the film.
One reporter at Decider wrote, “Ash’s spectacular demise is G-R-O-S-S. Just the sight of white liquid beading up on his skin is unsettling, and it only gets more nauseating from there. The way he spits out a mouthful of milky glue while spinning like a fussy Taz, it’s creepy….It gets even grosser later on when they set up Ash’s detached head and give it a jumpstart.”
Of the scene, Holm said,:
I remember it as being a very uncomfortable experience. My real head was tucked out of sight somewhere beneath the prosthetic one, and keeping it that way involved all sorts of awkward bending and wrenching. The inside of the phony head was packed with a mixture of organic and synthetic materials – plastic tubing mixing up with spaghetti and onion rings – to help confirm Ash’s humanity.
Holm’s Ash leaves the crew with an unsettling tip about their destiny, saying, “I can’t lie to you about your chances, but you have my sympathies.”
3. Holm Earned an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his Role in ‘Chariots of Fire’ & Won a BAFTA and Cannes Award for the Film
Sir Ian Holm has won several awards over his long fruitful career, including a Laurence Olivier Award, Tony Award, a BAFTA and the Academy Award-nominatation for his role as the real-life Sam Mussabini, a coach who helped sprinter Harold Abrahams in the 1924 Olympics.
Though Holm did not win, the film took home the Academy Award that year for Best Picture, Best Writing, Best Music Original Score and Best Costume Design.
Holm won the BAFTA and Cannes award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Mussabini.
4.Holm is Best Known to Younger Generations as Bilbo Baggins From ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ Films
Beginning in 2001 Holm took on the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and in 2012 for two subsequent Hobbit films, according to Variety.
Earlier this month the cast had a virtual reunion called “One Zoom to Rule Them All | Reunited Apart LORD OF THE RINGS Edition” to benefit childhood hunger charities. Holm was unable to be part of the reunion and issued a statement saying, “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,” The Guardian reported.
The part left many fans thinking of the actor as the character he played. He told the Independent in 2004, “I get a lot of fan mail addressed to Bilbo and sometimes Sir Bilbo – it’s hardly ever addressed to Ian Holm, in fact. My business manager drafts the replies, and then I pop in to the office and sign them, ‘Bilbo!'”
5. Holm’s Wife Had Been Documenting his Last Days on Instagram
According to the BBC, Holm was married four times. In 1955 he married a woman named Lynn Shaw and the couple stayed together for 10 years. Next, he married a woman called Sophie Baker and that marriage ended n 1986 after four years. It was with those wives that he bore his five children, three daughters and two sons.
Later he married the actress Penelope Wilton in 1991 and that marriage lasted 10 years.
Next, he married artist Sophie de Stempelin 2003 and remained married to her until his death. Stempelin has been doing drawings of Holm in his last days and posting them on Instagram. Hand-drawn images of Holm laying on a pillow illustrate the decline of life.