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Also Known As: Sir Ian Holm, Ian Holm Cuthbert Died:
Born: September 12, 1931 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Essex, England, GB Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Considering his late arrival to the screen, the more than 100 films and television credits amassed by actor Sir Ian Holm was all the more impressive, given the breadth and inarguable quality displayed in his body of work. Trained on the stages of London, the talented thespian was initially seen in relatively minor roles in such films as "The Bofors Gun" (1968) and "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971). The reprisal of his Tony-winning role in the film adaptation of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" (1973) boosted Holm's reputation among his peers, but did little to increase his modest exposure. His career in film reached an entirely new level, however, after he stunned audiences as a murderous android in the sci-fi horror classic "Alien" (1979), before endearing himself as a nurturing coach in "Chariots of Fire" (1981). An amazing array of performances followed in such efforts as "Time Bandits" (1981), "Brazil" (1985), "Naked Lunch" (1991), "Big Night" (1996) and "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997), all of which were recognized when Holm was knighted by the Queen of England in 1998 for his services in drama. Nearly 40 years into his film career and still going strong, the actor delivered one of his more beloved...

Considering his late arrival to the screen, the more than 100 films and television credits amassed by actor Sir Ian Holm was all the more impressive, given the breadth and inarguable quality displayed in his body of work. Trained on the stages of London, the talented thespian was initially seen in relatively minor roles in such films as "The Bofors Gun" (1968) and "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971). The reprisal of his Tony-winning role in the film adaptation of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" (1973) boosted Holm's reputation among his peers, but did little to increase his modest exposure. His career in film reached an entirely new level, however, after he stunned audiences as a murderous android in the sci-fi horror classic "Alien" (1979), before endearing himself as a nurturing coach in "Chariots of Fire" (1981). An amazing array of performances followed in such efforts as "Time Bandits" (1981), "Brazil" (1985), "Naked Lunch" (1991), "Big Night" (1996) and "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997), all of which were recognized when Holm was knighted by the Queen of England in 1998 for his services in drama. Nearly 40 years into his film career and still going strong, the actor delivered one of his more beloved portrayals as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001). Whether playing a tortured soul, a caring patriarch or an eccentric madman, Holm inhabited each character with an ease that audiences, critics and his fellow actors could only marvel at.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

4.
 Shergar (2008) Joseph Maguire
5.
 O Jerusalem (2007)
6.
 Ratatouille (2007)
7.
 Treatment, The (2006)
8.
 Chromophobia (2005)
9.
 Lord of War (2005)
10.
 Strangers with Candy (2005) Cast
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1954:
Made professional stage debut as a spear carrier in Royal Shakespeare Company's (then Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon) "Othello"
1954:
Spent 14 seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in the classic Shakespearean repertory
1955:
Toured Europe with Laurence Olivier in Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus," playing Mutius
1959:
Portrayed the Fool to Charles Laughton's "King Lear"
1965:
Created the role of Lenny in RSC production of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming," directed by Peter Hall
1966:
Acted in Thames TV adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Body Snatcher"
1967:
Broadway debut, reprising Lenny in "The Homecoming" (again directed by Hall); earned Featured Actor in a Play Tony Award
1968:
Film acting debut, "The Bofors Gun"; earned a British Film Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor
1968:
First American-produced film, John Frankenheimer's "The Fixer"
1969:
First film with Hall, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (as Puck); also acted in Richard Attenborough's feature directing debut "Oh! What a Lovely War"
1970:
Reteamed with Attenborough as actors in Dick Clement's "A Severed Head," adapted from the Iris Murdoch novel by Frederic Raphael
1972:
Acted in Attenborough's "Young Winston"
1973:
Reprised his role as Lenny in the film version of "The Homecoming," directed by Hall
1974:
First film with director Richard Lester, "Juggernaut"
1974:
Starred as the French general in Thames Television production "Napoleon and Josephine"
1975:
American TV debut, "The Rebel" (CBS)
1976:
Reteamed with Lester for "Robin and Marian"
1976:
Overcome with debilitating stage fright during a London preview of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh," walked off and out of show; referred to incident as "my breakdown"
1977:
Debut in a U.S. TV miniseries, "Jesus of Nazareth" (NBC)
1978:
Played Nazi S.S. Chief Heinrich Himmler in acclaimed NBC miniseries "Holocaust"
1978:
Portrayed author J.M. Barrie in the British TV drama "The Lost Boys"
1979:
Essayed Ash, the android member of the doomed crew in Ridley Scott's "Alien"
1979:
Briefly returned to the stage in Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" still overcome with stage fright; last theatrical role for 14 years
1981:
Received Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for portrayal of track coach Sam Mussabini in "Chariots of Fire," directed by Hugh Hudson
1981:
First film with director Terry Gilliam, "Time Bandits" as Napoleon
1982:
Portrayed Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in ABC miniseries "Inside the Third Reich"
1984:
Cast in supporting role in Hudson's "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," playing the Belgian explorer who discovered the half-savage Tarzan
1985:
Won praise for his performance as a venal bureaucrat in Gilliam's "Brazil"
1985:
Portrayed Reverend Charles L Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) in "Dreamchild"
1989:
Played Captain Fluellen in Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V"; Branagh in his autobiography said Holm was "very much of the anything you can do I can do less of school of acting"; statement regarded as a compliment by Holm
1990:
Portrayed Polonius in Franco Zeffirelli's "Hamlet," starring Mel Gibson
1991:
First film with David Cronenberg, "Naked Lunch"
1992:
Played Pod in "The Borrowers," two six-part BBC series based on the novels my Brit author Mary Norton; later aired on TNT as "The Borrowers" (1993) and "The Return of the Borrowers" (1996)
1993:
Returned to the stage after more than a decade in Pinter's "Moonlight"; the playwright had written the role of the embittered, dying patriarch expressly for him
1994:
Reteamed with Branagh for "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"; cast as the father of Victor Frankenstein (Branagh)
1994:
Cast as Dr Willis, one of the physicians who helped cure the monarch in "The Madness of King George"
1996:
Delivered scene-stealing turn as a rival restaurateur in "Big Night"; co-written, co-directed, and co-starring Stanley Tucci
1997:
Perfected a "Noo Yawk" accent for his role as a cop in Sidney Lumet's "Night Falls on Manhattan"
1997:
Earned plaudits for his work as a seedy lawyer in Atom Egoyan's film version of "The Sweet Hereafter"
1997:
Cast as Cameron Diaz's father in "A Life Less Ordinary"
1998:
Starred in London stage production of "King Lear," directed by Richard Eyre
1998:
Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
1998:
Reprised his acclaimed turn as "King Lear" (again directed by Eyre) for TV; aired in U.S. on PBS; earned Emmy nomination but lost award to Stanley Tucci (for his performance as gossip columnist Walter Winchell)
1999:
Reteamed with Cronenberg for "eXistenZ"; cast as an eccentric scientist
1999:
Provided voice of Squeeler in TNT's adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm," a mixture of animation and live-action
2000:
Reteamed with Tucci (who directed, co-wrote and co-starred as Mitchell) for "Joe Gould's Secret," based on the character immortalized by <i>New Yorker</i> writer Joe Mitchell
2000:
Acted with Judi Dench, Olympia Dukakis, and Leslie Caron in HBO drama "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells"; played a drummer who had dressed in drag to play with an all-female orchestra; received Emmy nomination
2000:
Provided the voice of Pontius Pilate in the animated movie "The Miracle Maker"; aired on ABC in U.S.
2000:
Starred opposite Summer Phoenix in the Cannes-screened "Esther Kahn"
2001:
Cast as Napoleon in "The Emperor's New Clothes"
2001:
Played the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's epic adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy; all three films were shot simultaneously from 1999 to 2000 for release over a three year period: "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001); "The Two Towers" (2002); "The Return of the King" (2003)
2001:
Headlined London stage revival of Pinter's "The Homecoming", portraying the patriarch; also briefly played NYC as part of a tribute to the author
2001:
Had featured role in the Jack the Ripper drama "From Hell"
2004:
Starred with Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal in "The Day After Tomorrow"
2004:
Cast as Andrew Largeman's (Zach Braff) father in "Garden State," Braff's writting and directorial debut
2004:
Acted opposite Leonardo DiCaprio's Howard Hughes in "The Aviator," directed by Martin Scorsese
2005:
Cast in Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" with Nicolas Cage and Ethan Hawke
2007:
Played an eccentric analyst in "The Treatment"
2007:
Voiced Skinner in the Pixar animated feature "Ratatouille"
2009:
Narrated British production "1066 The Battle for Middle Earth" (Channel 4)
2012:
Returned to Middle Earth as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman played young Bilbo) in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

Holm underwent treatment for prostate cancer in December 2001.

About Charles Laughton, with whom he acted in a 1959 production of "King Lear": He was on a bottle of Teacher's a day. Didn't have the vocal power and wasn't quite up to it, I'm afraid." --Ian Holm, quoted in production notes from the 1998 TV version of his own "King Lear".

Remembering the technical help he got from Lee Marvin on "Shout at the Devil" (1976): "He was one of the greatest pros I've ever worked with. On my first day, nervous and shaking and sad to be away from home, I had this silly scene putting up this flag. Marvin had his close-up and then it was my close-up and everybody left except Marvin, who said, 'I'll give you a hinge line here.' I said, 'Sorry?' He said, 'You don't know what the f--- a hinge line is, do you? I'll play a scene for you off camera and that should give you something to react to.' Amazing, and he did. I thought it was extraordinarily generous." --Holm to Jasper Rees in The Daily Telegraph, August 27, 1997.

If you've got more than one scene, unless the film is absolute rubbish, you would be hard put as a good actor not to be able to do something with it. And that's what I look for. Can I do something with this seemingly very ordinary-looking part? And, if I think I can, if it's got a scene . . .

"As Jimmy Stewart said, movies are about moments, and that is so right. If you've got a scene with one moment, that's great, you work towards that." --Holm in The Daily Telegraph, August 27, 1997.

"I'm always waiting for the crash, like all actors. I would love to have started earlier in movies, so one has a lot of catching up to do. And there are only so many things I can do at my age.

"You have the opportunities given to you, and the powers-that-be don't follow it up. And (then) you get something like this slew of films I've done which don't have any link at all, except somebody said, 'Let's get him.' Now they probably say 'Oh, not him again.'" --Holm, quoted in Daily News. November 20, 1997.

"I'm a small, stumpy guy who came to movies a bit late . . . Not that I would have been a leading man in my younger days, I don't think. The early part of my career--13 years--was all in the classics, on stage. Then, after John Frankenheimer came up to Stratford once, he suddenly thought these actors were all quite good, and put us in 'The Fixer' (1968)." --Holm to Gary Dretzka in the Chicago Tribune, December 22, 1997

"I've always been a minimalist. It was Bogart who once said, 'If you think the right thoughts, the camera will pick it up.' The most important thing in the face is the eyes, and if you can make the eyes talk, then you're halfway there." --Holm to Rich Cohen in Interview, April 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lynne Mary Shaw. Married in 1955; divorced in 1965.
companion:
Bee Gilbert. Producer, screenwriter, photographer. Lived together in the 1960s; mother of Holm's son Barnaby and daughter Melissa; later involved with Andrew Birkin with whom she had two sons.
wife:
Sophie Baker. Married c. 1981; divorced.
wife:
Penelope Wilton. Actor. Married in 1991; formerly married to actor Daniel Massey with whom she had a daughter; acted together in Richard Eyre's "Laughterhouse" (1984) and in TNT's "The Borrowers" (1993) and "The Return of the Borrowers" (1996).
wife:
Sophie De Stempel. Painter. Married late 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
James Harvey Cuthbert. Mental hospital superintendent. Scottish.
mother:
Jean Wilson Cuthbert. Scottish.
brother:
Eric Cuthbert. Died of cancer in 1944.
daughter:
Jessica Holm. Mother, Lynn Shaw.
daughter:
Sarah-Jane Holm. Actor. Mother, Lynn Shaw.
son:
Barnaby Holm. Nightclub manager. Runs the House of Blues in L.A.; mother, Bee Gilbert.
daughter:
Melissa Holm. Mother, Bee Gilbert.
son:
Harry Holm. Mother, Sophie Baker.
step-daughter:
Alice Pearl Massey. Born c. 1978; mother, Penelope Wilton; father, Daniel Massey.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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