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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
ing under the floorboards of an English country home.Holm reunited with his "Henry V" co-star Branagh for the Francis Ford Coppola-produced "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (1994), in which he played the father of the brilliant but misguided scientist (Branagh) whose experiments result in a hulking monstrosity (Robert De Niro). In a more historical period piece, he shone as the stern, albeit slightly dotty physician attempting to treat "The Madness of King George" (1994). He was deliciously nasty as Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub¿s restaurateur rival in the charming dramedy "Big Night" (1996). Always a prolific and reliable actor, Holm¿s career reached an entirely new level the following year when he appeared in no fewer than four notable feature films; an accomplishment he would repeat more than once in the years to come. He was the monk of an esoteric order in director Luc Besson's futuristic "The Fifth Element" (1997), then appeared as a tormented New York City cop in Sidney Lumet¿s crime drama "Night Falls on Manhattan" (1997). In Danny Boyle's "A Life Less Ordinary" (1997), he played a wealthy businessman whose daughter (Cameron Diaz) is kidnapped by a down-on-his-luck janitor (Ewan McGregor). The...
ing under the floorboards of an English country home.
Holm reunited with his "Henry V" co-star Branagh for the Francis Ford Coppola-produced "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (1994), in which he played the father of the brilliant but misguided scientist (Branagh) whose experiments result in a hulking monstrosity (Robert De Niro). In a more historical period piece, he shone as the stern, albeit slightly dotty physician attempting to treat "The Madness of King George" (1994). He was deliciously nasty as Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub¿s restaurateur rival in the charming dramedy "Big Night" (1996). Always a prolific and reliable actor, Holm¿s career reached an entirely new level the following year when he appeared in no fewer than four notable feature films; an accomplishment he would repeat more than once in the years to come. He was the monk of an esoteric order in director Luc Besson's futuristic "The Fifth Element" (1997), then appeared as a tormented New York City cop in Sidney Lumet¿s crime drama "Night Falls on Manhattan" (1997). In Danny Boyle's "A Life Less Ordinary" (1997), he played a wealthy businessman whose daughter (Cameron Diaz) is kidnapped by a down-on-his-luck janitor (Ewan McGregor). The gem of this banner year, however, was writer-director Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997). Holm delivered a masterfully subtle performance as a big-city lawyer trying to convince the grieving parents of a small Canadian town to sue a bus company for the wrongful deaths of several of their children. Nearly universally hailed by critics, the role earned Holm a Genie Award for Best Actor, as well as one in the same category from the Toronto Film Critics Association.
Although it was where his career had begun more than three decades earlier, Holm had performed little on stage since a debilitating case of stage fright during a production of Eugene O¿Neill¿s "The Iceman Cometh" in 1976. And despite his participation in a revival of Chekhov¿s "The Cherry Orchard" in 1979 and a 1993 mounting of Pinter¿s "Moonlight" ¿ in a role written specifically for him by the playwright ¿ Holm had not felt comfortable performing in front of a live audience for years. That all changed after he was asked by director Richard Eyre to take the lead role in his new U.K. stage production of Shakespeare¿s "King Lear" in 1997. The show and Holm¿s performance became both the talk of the London theater community, and, in what the actor himself cited as some of his finest work, "King Lear" (PBS, 1998) was taped for the enjoyment of audiences the world over. After his hilariously bizarre turn as a thickly-accented scientist in Cronenberg's sci-fi nightmare "eXistenZ" (1999), he completely embodied the title role of actor-writer Tucci's "Joe Gould's Secret" (2000), beautifully capturing the dualities of his complex character¿s charm, intelligence, eccentricities and the multiple demons that haunted him. Other turn-of-the-millennium work included appearances opposite leading ladies Dame Judi Dench in "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells" (HBO, 2000), Sharon Stone in "Beautiful Joe" (2000), and the supernatural thriller "Bless the Child" (2000) opposite Kim Basinger.
A frequent narrator of television documentaries, Holm lent his voice to a retelling of George Orwell¿s classic parable "Animal Farm" (TNT, 1999), and to the animated biblical epic "The Miracle Maker" (ABC, 2000). He played Bonaparte for the third time in the romantic comedy "The Emperor's New Clothes" (2001), in addition to a turn as the maniacal royal physician Sir William Gull in "From Hell" (2001), the Hughes Brothers¿ stylish adaptation of Alan Moore¿s graphic novel about Jack the Ripper. The actor then undertook what would become one of his best-known roles, playing hobbit Bilbo Baggins in "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003), the bookend installments of the big-budget, epic trilogy. Lovingly adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's novels by filmmaker Peter Jackson, the trio of films became the biggest cinematic event of the early 21st Century. Holm next had a supporting role as a thoughtful climatologist in "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004), director Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic disaster film about the onslaught of a new ice age. He then gave a finely etched turn as an embittered, emotionally detached father in writer-director-star Zach Braff's lauded indie comedy-drama "Garden State" (2004). Also that year, the ever-busy Holm played the befuddled Professor Fitz in "The Aviator," Martin Scorsese's biography of film maverick and airline tycoon Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio).
In a change of pace, Holm joined writer-actor Amy Sedaris and comedian Stephen Colbert in the broad comedy "Strangers with Candy" (2005), a spin-off from Sedaris¿ Comedy Central television series, and also appeared opposite Nicholas Cage in "Lord of War" (2005) as a veteran arms dealer. He returned to the world of animation, first providing voice work in the black and white futuristic conspiracy thriller "Renaissance" (2006), then as an unscrupulous restaurateur in Pixar¿s culinary comedy "Ratatouille" (2007). At this point, Holm curtailed his professional output and took some time away from the screen. That is, until he reprised his earlier role as an aged Bilbo in Jackson¿s much anticipated prequel, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012) and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" (2013).
By Bryce Colemanudrey Hepburn in "Robin and Marian" (1976), a romantic adventure chronicling the final days of the titular lovers. Following roles in Franco Zeffirelli¿s "Jesus of Nazareth" (NBC, 1977) and "The Man in the Iron Mask" (NBC, 1977), directed by Mike Newell, he played Nazi SS Chief Heinrich Himmler in yet another acclaimed television miniseries, "Holocaust" (NBC, 1978). It was, however, Holms¿ chilling portrayal of Ash, the duplicitous and coldly logical android in director Ridley Scott's "Alien" (1979) that would significantly raise his profile as an actor. The harrowing scene in which Ash attempts to murder fellow crewmember Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) stunned audiences who were caught unprepared for the pent up brutality unleashed by his previously passive character. From there, Holm went on to earn a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a dedicated track coach in Hugh Hudson's "Chariots of Fire" (1981). That same year, the versatile actor again played Napoleon; this time as a hilariously selfish and petulant man-child in Terry Gilliam's comedic fantasy "Time Bandits" (1981).
Holm continued to take on a variety of diverse characters in a string of projects, which included a convincing turn as Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels in the miniseries "Inside the Third Reich" (ABC, 1982), a kind-hearted Belgian explorer who rescues and educates a half-savage boy in "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" (1984), and a blandly evil bureaucrat in Gilliam's "Brazil" (1985). After delivering a meticulous performance as the husband of a troubled woman (Gena Rowlands) in Woody Allen's "Another Woman" (1988), Holm returned to the familiar world of Shakespeare in Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of "Henry V" (1989) and Zeffirelli¿s "Hamlet" (1990). That same year, he delivered a charming rendition of Agatha Christie's famous sleuth, Hercule Poirot, in "Murder by the Book" (A&E, 1990), then remained in television to play Michelangelo's patron Lorenzo de Medici in "A Season of Giants" (TNT, 1991). Inhabiting similar absurdist territory as "Brazil," Holm also appeared in David Cronenberg's hallucinogenic "Naked Lunch" (1991), and Steven Soderbergh¿s stylized biopic-adaptation hybrid, "Kafka" (1991). Additionally, he starred as Pod opposite wife Penelope Wilton's Homily in the made-for-television version of "The Borrowers" (BBC, 1992), a miniseries based on British author Mary Norton's children's novels about a family of little people liv
Filmographyclose complete filmography
CAST: (feature film)
Milestones close milestones
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
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