Ian Holm

Last updated

Sir
Ian Holm
CBE
Ian Holm.jpg
In Edinburgh, 2004
Born
Ian Holm Cuthbert

(1931-09-12)12 September 1931
Goodmayes, Essex, England
Died19 June 2020(2020-06-19) (aged 88)
London, England
Resting place Highgate Cemetery
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor
Years active1957–2014
Spouses
  • Lynn Mary Shaw
    (m. 1955;div. 1965)
  • Sophie Baker
    (m. 1982;div. 1986)
  • (m. 1991;div. 2001)
  • Sophie de Stempel
    (m. 2003)
Children5
Awards

Sir Ian Holm Cuthbert CBE (12 September 1931 – 19 June 2020) was an English actor. After graduating from RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and beginning his career on the British stage as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he became a successful and prolific performer on television and in film. He received numerous accolades including two BAFTA Awards and a Tony Award, along with nominations for an Academy Award. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 for services to drama. [1] [2]

Contents

Holm won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in the Harold Pinter play The Homecoming . He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in the title role in the 1998 West End production of King Lear . For his television roles he received two Primetime Emmy Awards for King Lear, and the HBO film The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2003).

He gained acclaim for his role in The Bofors Gun (1968) winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and won a second BAFTA Award for his role as athletics trainer Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire (1981). Other notable films he appeared in include Alien (1979), Brazil (1985), Dreamchild (1985), Henry V (1989), Naked Lunch (1991), The Madness of King George (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), and The Aviator (2004). He played Napoleon in three different films. He gained wider appreciation for his role as the elderly Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

Early life and education

Ian Holm Cuthbert was born on 12 September 1931 in Goodmayes, Essex, to Scottish parents, James Cuthbert and his wife Jean (née Holm). His father was a psychiatrist who worked as the superintendent of the West Ham Corporation Mental Hospital and was one of the pioneers of electric shock therapy; his mother was a nurse. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] He had an older brother, who died when Ian was 12 years old. [8] Holm was educated at the independent Chigwell School in Essex. [3] [8] His parents retired to Mortehoe in Devon and then to Worthing, where he joined an amateur dramatic society. [9]

A chance encounter with Henry Baynton, a well-known provincial Shakespearean actor, helped Holm train for admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he secured a place from 1950. [3] [10] His studies were interrupted a year later when he was called up for National Service in the British Army, [10] during which he was posted to Klagenfurt, Austria, and attained the rank of Lance Corporal. They were interrupted a second time when he volunteered to go on an acting tour of the United States in 1952. [9] Holm graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1953. [3]

He made his stage debut in 1954, at Stratford-upon-Avon, playing a spear carrier in a staging of Othello . [11] Two years later, he made his London stage debut in Love Affair. [11]

Career

Holm was an established actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company before he gained notice in television and film. He began in 1954 with minor roles, progressing to Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the fool in King Lear . [10] In 1965, he played Richard III in the BBC serialisation of The Wars of The Roses , based on the RSC production of the plays. He gained acclaim for his role in the 1968 film The Bofors Gun , winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. [12] In 1969, he appeared in Moonlight on the Highway . [13] He took on minor roles in films such as Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), [14] Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), [15] Mary, Queen of Scots (1972) [16] and Young Winston (1972). [17]

In 1967 Holm won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play as Lenny in The Homecoming by Harold Pinter. Holm appeared in the 1977 television mini-series Jesus of Nazareth as the Sadducee Zerah, and as the villain in March or Die . The following year he played J. M. Barrie in the award-winning BBC mini-series The Lost Boys , [18] In 1981, he played Frodo Baggins in the BBC radio adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings . [19]

Holm's first film role to gain much notice was that of Ash, the "calm, technocratic" science officer – later revealed to be an android – in Ridley Scott's science-fiction film Alien (1979). [20] His portrayal of the running coach Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire (1981) earned him a special award at the Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. [20] [21] [22] In the 1980s, Holm played in Time Bandits (1981), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) and Brazil (1985). He played Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland , in Dreamchild (1985). [23] [24]

In 1989, Holm was nominated for a BAFTA award for the television series Game, Set and Match . [25] Based on the novels by Len Deighton, this tells the story of an intelligence officer (Holm) who finds a security leak at the heart of his network. [26] He continued to perform Shakespeare in films. He appeared with Kenneth Branagh in Henry V (1989) [27] and as Polonius to Mel Gibson's Hamlet (1990). [28] Holm was reunited with Branagh in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), playing the father of Branagh's Victor Frankenstein. [29]

Holm as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The role brought him wider fame, somewhat overshadowing the rest of his acting career. Ian Holm studying the Ring FOTR 2001.jpg
Holm as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring . The role brought him wider fame, somewhat overshadowing the rest of his acting career.

Holm raised his profile in 1997 with two prominent roles, as the priest Vito Cornelius in Luc Besson's sci-fi The Fifth Element and the lawyer Mitchell Stephens in The Sweet Hereafter . In 2001 he starred in From Hell as the physician Sir William Withey Gull. [1] The same year, he followed up his radio role as Frodo by appearing as Frodo's older cousinBilbo Baggins in the blockbuster film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring . This brought him wider fame, somewhat overshadowing the rest of his acting career. [1] He returned for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), for which he shared a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. He later reprised his role as the elderly Bilbo Baggins in the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies . [10] Martin Freeman portrayed the young Bilbo in those films. [30]

Holm was nominated for an Emmy Award twice, for a PBS broadcast of a National Theatre production of King Lear , in 1999; and for a supporting role in the HBO film The Last of the Blonde Bombshells opposite Judi Dench, in 2001. [31] He voiced Chef Skinner in the Pixar animated film Ratatouille (2007). [32] He appeared in two David Cronenberg films: Naked Lunch (1991) and eXistenZ (1999). [20] His acting was admired by Harold Pinter: the playwright once said: "He puts on my shoe, and it fits!" [33] Holm played Lenny in both the London and New York City premieres of Pinter's The Homecoming ; the BBC wrote that he "electrified audiences" in the play. [22] He played Napoleon Bonaparte three times: in the television mini-series Napoleon and Love (1974), Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits (1981), and The Emperor's New Clothes . [18] Holm received royal recognition for his contributions: he was made CBE in 1989 and knighted in 1998. [3]

Personal life

Holm's grave in Highgate Cemetery Holm, Ian 2020.jpg
Holm's grave in Highgate Cemetery

Holm was married four times: [34] to Lynn Mary Shaw in 1955 (divorced 1965); to Sophie Baker in 1982 (divorced 1986); to the actress Penelope Wilton, in Wiltshire, in 1991 (divorced 2002); and to the artist Sophie de Stempel in 2003. He had five children. [3] [35]

Holm and Wilton appeared together in the BBC miniseries The Borrowers (1993). His last wife, Sophie de Stempel, was a protégée and a life model of Lucian Freud, [36] as well as an artist in her own right. [37]

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1989 by Queen Elizabeth II. [1] [2]

Holm was treated for prostate cancer in 2001. [34] He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007, [38] [39] [40] and died in hospital in London on 19 June 2020 at the age of 88. [41] His remains are interred on the western side of Highgate Cemetery. [42]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotesRef.
1968 The Bofors Gun Flynn [12]
The Fixer Grubeshov [32]
A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck [43]
1969 Oh! What a Lovely War Raymond Poincaré [32]
1970 A Severed Head Martin Lynch-Gibbon [32]
1971 Nicholas and Alexandra Vasily Yakovlev [32]
Mary, Queen of Scots David Rizzio [32]
1972 Young Winston George E. Buckle [32]
1973 The Homecoming Lenny [32]
1974 Juggernaut Nicholas Porter [32]
1976 Robin and Marian King John [32]
Shout at the Devil Mohammed [32]
1977 March or Die El Krim [44]
1979 Alien Ash [32]
S.O.S. Titanic J. Bruce Ismay [32]
1981 Chariots of Fire Sam Mussabini [32]
Time Bandits Napoleon [32]
1982 The Return of the Soldier Doctor Anderson [32]
Inside the Third Reich Joseph Goebbels [45]
1984LaughterhouseBen Singleton [32]
Greystoke:
The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
Capitain Philippe D'Arnot [32]
Terror in the Aisles Ash [46]
1985 Dreamchild Charles L. Dodgson [32]
Wetherby Stanley Pilborough [32]
Brazil Mr Kurtzmann [32]
Dance with a Stranger Desmond Cussen [32]
Mr and Mrs EdgehillEustace Edgehill [47]
1988 Another Woman Ken Post [32]
1989 Henry V Fluellen [27]
1990 Hamlet Polonius [28]
1991 Naked Lunch Tom Frost [48]
Kafka Doctor Murnau [32]
1992 Blue Ice Sir Hector [32]
1993 The Hour of the Pig Albertus [49]
1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Baron Alphonse Frankenstein [32]
The Madness of King George Dr. Francis Willis [32]
1996 Big Night Pascal [32]
Loch Ness Water Bailiff [32]
1997 Night Falls on Manhattan Liam Casey [32]
The Sweet Hereafter Mitchell Stephens [32]
The Fifth Element Father Vito Cornelius [32]
A Life Less Ordinary Naville [32]
Incognito JohnUncredited cameo [50]
1998 Alice through the Looking Glass White Knight [32]
King LearLear [51]
1999ShergarJoseph Maguire [32]
eXistenZ Kiri Vinokur [32]
Simon Magus Sirius/Boris/The Devil [32]
Wisconsin Death Trip Frank Cooper (voice) [52]
The Match Big Tam [32]
2000 Joe Gould's Secret Joe Gould [53]
The Miracle Maker Pontius Pilate (voice) [32]
The Last of the Blonde Bombshells Patrick [32]
Esther Kahn Nathan Quellen [32]
Beautiful Joe George The Geek [32]
Bless the Child Reverend Grissom [32]
2001 From Hell Sir William Gull [32]
The Emperor's New Clothes Napoleon / Eugene Lenormand [54]
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Bilbo Baggins [32]
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [32]
2004 The Day After Tomorrow Professor Terry Rapson [32]
Garden State Gideon Largeman [32]
The Aviator Professor Fitz [32]
2005 Strangers with Candy Dr. Putney [32]
Chromophobia Edward Aylesbury [32]
Lord of War Simeon Weisz [32]
2006 Renaissance Jonas Muller (voice) [55]
O Jerusalem Ben Gurion [32]
The Treatment Dr. Ernesto Morales [32]
2007 Ratatouille Chef Skinner (voice) [32]
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Older Bilbo Baggins [32]
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Final film role [32]

Television

YearTitleRoleNotesRef.
1972–74 BBC Play of the Month Khrushchov/Oedipus2 episodes [56] [57]
1974 Napoleon and Love Napoleon I 9 episodes [58]
1974–75 The Lives of Benjamin Franklin Wedderburn3 episodes [59]
1975Private AffairsDavid GarrickEpisode: Mr Garrick and Mrs Woffington [60]
1977 The Man in the Iron Mask DuvalTelevision film [32]
Jesus of Nazareth ZerahParts 1 & 2 [3]
JubileeBill RamseyEpisode: Ramsey [61]
1978Do You Remember?Walter StreetEpisode: Night School [62]
The Lost Boys J. M. Barrie 3 episodes [63]
Holocaust Heinrich Himmler 2 episodes [32]
Les Misérables ThénardierTelevision film [32]
The Thief of Baghdad The GatekeeperTelevision film [64]
1979 All Quiet on the Western Front HimmelstossTelevision film [32]
S.O.S. Titanic Bruce IsmayTelevision film [65]
1980 We, the Accused Paul PressettMiniseries; 5 episodes [32]
The Misanthrope AlcesteTelevision film [66]
1981–2008 Horizon NarratorTelevision documentary [67] [68]
1982 The Bell Michael MeadeTelevision drama [69]
Play for Today AlexieTelevision play (episode: Soft Targets) [70]
1982 Tales of the Unexpected Alan CorwinTelevision play (episode: Death Can Add) [71]
1985TelevisionNarratorTelevision documentary series [72]
1986Murder by the Book Hercule Poirot Television film [73]
1988 Game, Set and Match Bernard Samson13 episodes [74]
1989 The Tailor of Gloucester The TailorTelevision film [75]
1989 The Endless Game Control2 episodes [76]
1991Uncle VanyaAstrovBBC TV [77]
1992 The Borrowers Pod Clock6 episodes [32]
1993 The Return of the Borrowers Pod Clock6 episodes [32]
1999 Animal Farm Squealer (voice)Television film [78]
2003 Monsters We Met NarratorTelevision documentary [79]
2004 The Last Dragon NarratorTelevision film [80]
2005The Adventures of Errol FlynnNarratorTelevision documentary [81]
2009 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth Narrator2 episodes [82] [83]

Theatre

YearTitleRoleVenueRef.
1954–Shakespeare playsmultiple roles Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon [10]
1959 A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon [84]
1959 King Lear The Fool Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon [10]
1962 Troilus and Cressida Troilus Aldwych Theatre, London [84]
1965 Henry V Henry V Aldwych Theatre, London [84]
1966 Twelfth Night Malvolio Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon [84]
1967 Romeo and Juliet Romeo Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon [10]
1967 The Homecoming Lenny Music Box Theatre, Broadway [10]
1997 King Lear Lear Cottesloe Theatre, London [10]

Honours and accolades

Bibliography

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