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Ian Holm, Tony Winner for The Homecoming, Star of Alien, Lord of the Rings, Dies at 88

Holm had Parkinson's disease.

Ian Holm
(© CossieMoJo/Wikimedia Commons)

Stage and screen star Ian Holm has died aged 88, it has been announced.

Holm, born 12 September 1931, trained from 1949 at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After graduation he became a pivotal performer in the early days of the Royal Shakespeare Company, taking on roles like Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Prince Henry and eventually Henry V in Henry IV and Henry V, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, among other works. In the 1960s he gained fame for playing Richard III in the BBC adaptation of The War of the Roses, while also having minor roles in films like Oh! What a Lovely War.

In 1967, he won a Tony Award for starring as Lenny in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming on Broadway, and played Frodo Baggins in the 1981 radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. A major screen role came in 1979 as the notorious Ash in Alien, and he went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Chariots of Fire.

Though quitting the theater after a severe case of stage fright while playing Hickey in The Iceman Cometh in 1976, the actor continued his love for Shakespeare, appearing in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V and Mel Gibson's Hamlet. According to a 2001 report in the New York Times, Holm was one of Pinter's favorite actors, with the playwright saying that "He puts on my shoe, and it fits!". Holm later returned to the stage to perform as King Lear at the National Theatre in 1997, earning an Olivier Award.

One of his most iconic roles was as Bilbo Baggins in the award-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy, earning a SAG Award for the ensemble cast. He was knighted in 1998.

According to The Guardian, Holm's death was Parkinson's related.


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