John Rhys-Davies

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John Rhys-Davies
(John Rhys-Davies) 2018-02-11 15-35-40 ILCE-6500 DSC07150 (31235662177) (cropped).jpg
Rhys-Davies in February 2018
Born (1944-05-05) 5 May 1944 (age 78)
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Years active1964–present
Suzanne Wilkinson
(m. 1966;sep. 1985)
Partner(s)Lisa Manning

John Rhys-Davies (born 5 May 1944) is a Welsh actor best known for portraying Sallah in the Indiana Jones franchise and Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His other roles include Michael Malone in the 1993 series The Untouchables, Vasco Rodrigues in the miniseries Shōgun , Professor Maximillian Arturo in Sliders , King Richard I in Robin of Sherwood , General Leonid Pushkin in the James Bond film The Living Daylights , and Macro in I, Claudius . In voice acting, he portrayed Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Cassim in Aladdin and the King of Thieves , Ranjan's father in The Jungle Book 2 , Macbeth in Gargoyles , Man Ray in SpongeBob SquarePants , Hades in Justice League , and Tobias in Freelancer .


Early life

John Rhys-Davies was born in Salisbury on 5 May 1944, [1] the son of Welsh parents. His mother, Phyllis Jones, was a nurse, while his father, Rhys Davies, was a mechanical engineer and colonial officer. [2] [3]

Due to his father's work as a colonial police officer, he was raised in Tanganyika (today part of Tanzania) before his family moved to the Welsh town of Ammanford. [1] While in Tanganyika, his family lived in places such as Dar es Salaam, Kongwa, Moshi, and Mwanza. He was educated at independent Truro School in Cornwall and then at the University of East Anglia, where he was one of the first 105 students admitted and became a co-founder of its drama club. After a stint teaching at a secondary school in Watton, Norfolk, he won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.


Rhys-Davies (right) signing autographs in May 2005 John Rhys-Davies under autografsession.jpg
Rhys-Davies (right) signing autographs in May 2005

Rhys-Davies appeared sporadically on UK television in the early 1970s, including his role as the gangster "Laughing Spam Fritter" opposite Adam Faith in Budgie . Later he played Praetorian officer Naevius Sutorius Macro in I, Claudius . He then began to appear more frequently, and not just in the UK, with roles as a Portuguese navigator Rodrigues in the 1980 television miniseries Shogun , based on the novel by James Clavell, and as Sallah in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. He reprised the role of Sallah in two subsequent Indiana Jones films.

In 1989, he played Marvel Comics character Kingpin in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk . Rhys-Davies also starred in another Clavell adaption, Noble House , set in Hong Kong, in which he plays Ian Dunross' corporate enemy, Quillan Gornt. He has since appeared in numerous television shows and miniseries, including Agent Michael Malone in the 1993 remake of the 1950s television series The Untouchables as well as a leading role in the television series Sliders as Professor Maximillian Arturo from 1995 to 1997.

He also appeared in Reilly, Ace of Spies in 1983, made several appearances in Star Trek: Voyager as a holodeck version of Leonardo da Vinci, starred as an ally of James Bond in The Living Daylights , and appeared in the film One Night with the King . Davies has played the character Porthos in two separate projects; a two-part episode of The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne , and the Hallmark Channel film La Femme Musketeer . He appears in the full motion video cut scenes of computer games including Ripper (as Vigo Haman) (1996), Dune 2000 (as Noree Moneo) (1998), and the Wing Commander series (as James Taggart, doubling as the voice of Thrakhath nar Kiranka in the third game of the series).

In 2004, he narrated The Privileged Planet, a documentary that makes the case for intelligent design. [4] In 2013, he appeared in the family history programme Coming Home , in which he discovered information about his grandfather's life in the Carmarthenshire coal mines. [5]

In 2014, he joined the cast of the television show Metal Hurlant Chronicles to play Holgarth, an immortal alchemist. [6]

In 2015, he had a role in the single-player campaign of the PC game Star Citizen alongside Mark Hamill and Gary Oldman. [7] The work consisted of full body motion capture, including facial expressions and his voice; it was recorded primarily at the Imaginarium studios in the UK. [8]

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Rhys-Davies appeared as the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The cinematography of the films was aided in that Rhys-Davies is tall – 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), compared to the actors playing hobbits at around 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m). [9] Therefore, although his character was supposed to be short, he was properly in proportion compared to the hobbit actors. Had he been of more similar height, shots of the entire fellowship would have required three camera passes rather than two. [10]

Rhys-Davies is the only one of the nine Fellowship of the Ring actors who did not receive a tattoo of the word "nine" written in the Tengwar script; his stunt double, Brett Beattie, was offered the tattoo instead as Rhys-Davies was disinclined to get one himself and Beattie had spent so much time as his double that he almost received co-credit. [11] [12]

Rhys-Davies suffered severe reactions to the prosthetics used during filming, and his eyes sometimes swelled shut. When asked whether he would consider returning to the role for the film version of The Hobbit, he said, "I have already completely ruled it out. There's a sentimental part of me that would love to be involved again. Really I am not sure my face can take that sort of punishment any more." He added that this time around "[t]hey've got a different set of problems ... because you've got 13 dwarves, a whole band of them ... You're trying to represent a whole race ... You're trying to do for dwarves what The Lord of the Rings did for hobbits." [13] He offered help as a dwarf advisor in 2011, but ruled out returning as Gimli in The Hobbit because of the punishing makeup required. [14]

Rhys-Davies, together with Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, Miranda Otto, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, and Elijah Wood, plus writer Philippa Boyens and director Peter Jackson on 31 May 2020 joined Josh Gad's YouTube series Reunited Apart, which reunites the cast of popular movies through video-conferencing and promotes donations to non-profit charities. [15]

Voice work

Rhys-Davies in September 2012 John Rhys-Davies (7979439918).jpg
Rhys-Davies in September 2012

In addition to voicing the Ent Treebeard in Lord of the Rings, Rhys-Davies has lent his distinctive voice to many video games and animated television series, including the role of Hades in Justice League , the original voice of Man Ray in SpongeBob SquarePants (until both roles were recast to Bob Joles), and numerous times in Gargoyles (1994–1996), as the character Macbeth He also lent his vocal talents to the games Freelancer (as Richard Winston Tobias) and Lords of Everquest (both in 2003) and the game Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness , which was released with his narration on a CD-ROM version in 1995. He also had a voice role on Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance as the character Jherek, and narrated a documentary called The Glory of Macedonia.

John Rhys-Davies' voice can be heard on the 2009 documentary Reclaiming The Blade . [16] In the narration, Rhys-Davies explores swords, historical European swordsmanship and fight choreography on film, a topic very familiar to him from his experiences in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where his character wielded an axe in many scenes.

In 2004, he was the unknowing subject of an internet prank that spread false rumours in several mainstream media sources that he was scheduled to play the role of General Grievous in Star Wars Episode III . [17]

Rhys-Davies is the narrator of The Truth & Life Dramatized audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatised audiobook version of the New Testament which uses the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition translation. In 2011, he presented KJB: The Book That Changed The World, which features him reading diverse snippets from the King James Version.

John Rhys-Davies’ voice work also includes voice-over work with Breathe Bible. [18]

In 2016, he provided spoken words for Voices of Fire , the sixth album by a cappella power metal band van Canto. [19]

A resident of the Isle of Man since 1988, John Rhys-Davies provides the introductory voice-over to the Island's Castle Rushen, one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Britain. In 2018, he lent his voice to the Isle of Man's tourism commercial.

Rhys-Davies voice was recorded for some of the callouts in the 1993 Williams SuperPin Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure [20]

Personal life


Rhys-Davies in April 2013 John Rhys-Davies byVetulani.JPG
Rhys-Davies in April 2013

Rhys-Davies married Suzanne Wilkinson in December 1966, and they had two sons together. Although they legally separated in 1985, they remained married until her death from Alzheimer's disease in 2010. They remained friends, and he took care of her in her final years. [21]

In 2004, Rhys-Davies began dating Lisa Manning. They have a daughter together, and split their time between homes in the New Zealand region of Waikato [22] and on the Isle of Man. [23]

Religious views

Rhys-Davies is a self-described "rationalist" and "sceptic" when it comes to religion. However, he holds Christianity in high regard and has stated that "Christian civilisation has made the world a better place than it ever was."

In February 2020, Rhys-Davies stated, "All the things that we value, the right of free speech, the right of the individual conscience, these evolved in first and second century Roman Christendom, where the individual Christian said, 'I have a right to believe, [sic] what I believe and not what the Emperor tells me.' From that our whole idea of democracy and the equality that we have has developed. We owe Christianity the greatest debt of thanks that a generation can ever have, and to slight it and to dismiss it as being irrelevant is the detritus of rather ill-read minds, I think." [24] [25]

Rhys-Davies has played roles in several Christian films, including Mordecai in One Night with the King (2006), Charles Kemp in Beyond the Mask (2015), Saint Peter in The Apostle Peter: Redemption (2016), the Evangelist in The Pilgrim's Progress (2019), and Saint Patrick in I Am Patrick (2020).

Political views

Rhys-Davies is not a member of any political party. He was a radical leftist as a university student in the 1960s, but changed his views when he went to heckle Margaret Thatcher, who he said "shot down the first two hecklers in such brilliant fashion that [he] decided [he] ought for once to shut up and listen". [26]

In 2004, Rhys-Davies said in an interview with World magazine, "There is a demographic catastrophe happening in Europe that nobody wants to talk about, that we daren't bring up because we are so cagey about not offending people racially. And rightly we should be. But there is a cultural thing as well. By 2020, 50% of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent." [27] In an interview with the conservative journal National Review , he said that he is opposed to Islamic extremism because he feels that it violates the "Western values" of equality, democracy, tolerance, and the abolition of slavery. [26]

Rhys-Davies was vocal about his support for Brexit. [28] On 25 April 2019, he appeared as a panellist on the BBC's Question Time , where his conduct was described as "thuggish and sexist" by some viewers after he shouted "oh, woman!" at Green Party politician Caroline Lucas when she commented on Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [29] [30]



1973 Penny Gold Rugby Player
1974 The Black Windmill Fake Military PolicemanUncredited
1975 The Naked Civil Servant Barndoor
1979 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Solicitor
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Sallah
1982 Best Revenge Mustapha
Victor/Victoria Andre Cassell
The Island of AdventureSmith
1983 Sahara Rasoul
SadatGamal Abdel Nasser
1984 Sword of the Valiant Baron Fortinbras
Kim Babu
1985 King Solomon's Mines Dogati
1986 Firewalker 'Corky' Taylor
1987 The Living Daylights General Leonid Pushkin
1988 Waxwork Werewolf
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Sallah
Rising Storm Donwaldo
1992 The Double 0 Kid Rudi Von Keseenbaum
The Lost World Professor Challenger
Return to the Lost World Professor Challenger
1993 Sunset Grill Stockton
Cyborg Cop Kessel
The Seventh Coin Captain Galil
The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter Professor Warren
1994 The High Crusade Bruder Parvus
Robot in the Family Eli Taki, Rashmud, Sashri
Blood of the Innocent Captain Shmuda
1996 The Great White Hype Johnny Windsor
Glory Daze Luther
Aladdin and the King of Thieves CassimVoice, direct-to-video
Marquis de Sade Inspector Marais
1997 Cats Don't Dance Woolie the MammothVoice
Bloodsport III Jacques Duvalier
The Protector Rasheed
1999 Secret of the Andes Father Claver
2000 Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists King Akron, BarakaVoice
Delta Force One: The Lost PatrolIvan
2001 Never Say Never Mind: The Swedish Bikini Team Hakim
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Gimli Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002 Sabretooth Anthony Bricklin
Endangered Species Lieutenant Wyznowski
Scorcher Matthew Sallin
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Gimli, Treebeard Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Coronado President Hugo Luis Ramos
The Jungle Book 2 Ranjan's FatherVoice
The Medallion Commander Hammerstock-Smythe
2004 12 Days of Terror Captain
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement Viscount Mabrey
La Femme Musketeer Porthos
The Lost AngelFather Kevin
The Privileged Planet NarratorVoice
2005 The Game of Their Lives Bill Jeffrey
Chupacabra Terror Captain Randolph
The King Maker Phillippe
2006 Shark Bait ThortonVoice, English dub
One Night with the King Mordecai
The Legend of Sasquatch Ranger SteveVoice
2007 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Merick
The Ferryman The Greek
Catching Kringle Santa Voice
2009 Reclaiming the Blade NarratorVoice
31 North 62 East John Hammond
2010 Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes Dr. Watson Voice, direct-to-video
2011 KJB: The Book That Changed the World Self / Presenter
Sophie and ShebaAlistair Winston
Treasure HuntersNathan Pickett
Ferocious Planet Senator Jackson Crenshaw
2012EscapeMalcolm Andrews
2013100 Degrees Below ZeroRalph Dillard
Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map Pirate GnarlybeardVoice, direct-to-video
Prisoners of the Sun Professor Hayden Masterton
2014 Apocalypse Pompeii Colonel Carlo Dillard
Saul: The Journey to Damascus Caiphas
The Prophet YousefVoice
2015 Beyond the Mask [31] Charles Kemp
2016The Apostle Peter: Redemption Saint Peter
2017 Camera Store 'Pinky' Steuben
Aquaman Brine KingVoice
2019 The Pilgrim's Progress EvangelistVoice
Valley of the Gods Dr. Herrmann
Santa FakeJoe O'Brian
Mosley WarnieVoice
2020 Grizzly II: Revenge CaptainReleased as "The Concert"; filmed in 1983
I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of IrelandOld PatrickDocumentary
Moments in SpacetimeMason
Silent Night: A Song for the WorldGeneral Haig
2022KingslayerWilliam Marshal
2023 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny SallahPost-production


1974 Fall of Eagles Grigory Zinoviev Episode: "The Secret War"
1975 The Sweeney Ron BrettEpisode: "Poppy"
1976 I, Claudius Naevius Sutorius Macro 2 episodes
Warship CPO Cook MantellEpisode: "Heart of Oak"
1977 1990 Ivor GriffithEpisode: "Health Farm"
Just William AuthorityEpisode: "William and the Wonderful Present"
1978 Z Cars Terry LarkinEpisode: "Fat Freddie B.A."
The Nativity NestorTelevision film
1979–80 BBC Television Shakespeare Eustace Chapuys, Salerio 2 episodes
1979 The Danedyke Mystery Armchair6 episodes
1980 Shōgun Vasco RodriguesMiniseries
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1981 Peter and Paul Silas Television film
1982 CHiPs NakuraEpisode: "Force Seven"
Ivanhoe Front-de-BoeufTelevision film
1983 Reilly, Ace of Spies TanyatosEpisode: "An Affair with a Married Woman"
1984 Robin of Sherwood King Richard Episode: "The King's Fool" [32]
Scarecrow and Mrs. King Lord BromfieldEpisode: "Affair at Bromfield Hall"
1987Marjorie and the Preacher Man [33] SeymourTelevision drama
The Little Match Girl Police Chief MurphyTelevision film
1988–94 Murder, She Wrote Harry Mordecai / Harry Waverly / Lancaster3 episodes
1988 Noble House Quillan GorntMiniseries
War and Remembrance Sammy MutterperlMiniseries
Goddess of Love Zeus Television film
1989 The Trial of the Incredible Hulk Wilson Fisk/Kingpin Television film
Great Expectations Joe Gargery Miniseries
1991 The Mystery of the Black Jungle O'ConnorMiniseries
Tales from the Crypt DuvalEpisode: "Dead Wait"
The Strauss Dynasty GribovMiniseries
1992 Batman: The Animated Series Waclaw Jozek / BaronVoice, episode: "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy"
Perry Mason Phillip GraffEpisode: "The Case of the Fatal Framing"
Archaeology: Voyages of the VikingsNarratorDocumentary series (TLC)
Ring of the MusketeersMaurice TrevilleTelevision film
1992–93 The Legend of Prince Valiant King Hugo, King DonovanVoice, 8 episodes
1993–94 The Untouchables Agent Malone15 episodes
1994 A Flintstones Christmas Carol Charles BrickensTelevision special
1995–96 Gargoyles MacbethVoice, 13 episodes
1995–97 Sliders Professor Maximillian Arturo40 episodes
1995 Fantastic Four Thor Voice, 2 episodes
Archaeology: Florida's Lost EmpireHostDocumentary series (TLC)
1996 The Incredible Hulk ThorVoice, episode: "Mortal Bounds"
Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh NarratorVoice, television special
Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm AsgarthEpisode: "Overthrown"
1997 Freakazoid! Professor BeastheadVoice, episode: "Tomb of Invisibo"
You Wish Madman Mustapha3 episodes
Star Trek: Voyager Leonardo da Vinci 2 episodes
1999 Au Pair Nigel KentTelevision film
2000 Britannic Captain Charles Bartlett Television film
2002 Justice League Hades Voice, episode: "Paradise Lost"
The Zeta Project Edgar MandragoraVoice, episode: "Ro's Gift"
2000–02 SpongeBob SquarePants Man Ray Voice, episode: "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV"
2002 Fillmore! LennyVoice, episode: "Ingrid Third, Public Enemy #1"
2003 Helen of Troy King Priam Miniseries
2004 Dragon Storm King FastradTelevision film
2005 Revelations (Omnium Finis Imminet)Professor Jonah LampleyMiniseries
2006 Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Captain ProteusVoice, episode: "Demon of the Deep"
2008 Anaconda 3: Offspring MurdochTelevision film
Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles SangimelTelevision film
Kiss Me Deadly Yale EricsonTelevision film
2009 Dark Days in Monkey City Narrator3 episodes
Anacondas: Trail of Blood MurdochTelevision film
Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire Grimshank3 episodes
2010 Legend of the Seeker HoraceEpisode: "Vengeance"
Three Wise WomenArchangel GreenTelevision film
Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf Elliot CarbonTelevision film
2012 Psych Museum curatorEpisode: "Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger"
Missing ChristmasNarrator, Santa Claus Television special
2014 Let The Season In NarratorMormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert Special (filmed in 2013)
Once Upon a Time Grand PabbieVoice, 3 episodes
2015 Killing Jesus Annas Television film
The Adventures of Puss in Boots GoodswordVoice, episode: "Sword"
2015–2016 TripTank Various voices7 episodes
2016 The Shannara Chronicles Eventine Elessedil7 episodes
Winter ThawMartin AvdeitchTelevision film
The Lion Guard King SokweVoice, episode: "The Lost Gorillas"
2018A Dickens Christmas (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)NarratorMormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert Special
2019Fresh EggsCutter Anderson [28] 6 episodes
2020 Wizards: Tales of Arcadia Galahad Voice; 7 episodes
2022 Documentary Now! Garth Davies-GruffuddEpisode: "How They Threw Rocks"

Video games

1994 Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness NarratorVoice
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger James Taggart / Prince Thrakhath
1996 Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom James Taggart
Ripper Vigo HamanActor
1998 Dune 2000 Noree Moneo
2001 Forgotten Realms: Baldur's Gate - Dark Alliance JherekVoice
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Gimli
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Gimli / Treebeard
Freelancer Richard Winston Tobias, Esq. ('Tobias')
2004 The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth Gimli / Treebeard (Archive audio)
2006 The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II Gimli / Treebeard (Archive audio)
2009 Risen Don Esteban
2015 Lego Dimensions Gimli (Archive audio)



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The Hobbit is a series of three epic high fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. The films are subtitled An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). The films are based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, with large portions of the trilogy inspired by the appendices to The Return of the King, which expand on the story told in The Hobbit, as well as new material and characters written especially for the films. Together they act as a prequel to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Gimli is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, appearing in The Lord of the Rings. A dwarf warrior, he is the son of Glóin, a member of Thorin's company in Tolkien's earlier book The Hobbit. He represents the race of Dwarves as a member of the Fellowship of the Ring. As such, he is one of the primary characters in the story. In the course of the adventure, Gimli aids the Ring-bearer Frodo Baggins, participates in the War of the Ring, and becomes close friends with Legolas, overcoming an ancient enmity of Dwarves and Elves.

Peregrin Took, commonly known simply as Pippin, is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He is closely tied with his friend and cousin, Merry Brandybuck, and the two are together during most of the story. Pippin and Merry are introduced as a pair of young hobbits of the Shire who become ensnared in their friend Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring. Pippin joins the Fellowship of the Ring. He and Merry become separated from the rest of the group at the breaking of the Fellowship and spend much of The Two Towers with their own story line. Impetuous and curious, Pippin enlists as a soldier in the army of Gondor and fights in the Battle of the Morannon. With the other hobbits, he returns home, helps to lead the Scouring of the Shire, and becomes Thain or hereditary leader of the land.

Legolas is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He is a Sindar Elf of the Woodland Realm and one of the nine members of the Fellowship who set out to destroy the One Ring. He and the Dwarf Gimli are close friends.

J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954–55), set in Middle-earth, have been the subject of numerous motion picture adaptations, whether for film (cinema), television, or streaming. There were many early failed attempts to bring the fictional universe to life on screen, some even rejected by the author himself, who was skeptical of the prospects of an adaptation. While animated and live-action shorts were made in 1967 and 1971, the first commercial depiction of the book onscreen was in an animated TV special in 1977. In 1978 the first big screen adaptation of the fictional setting was introduced in the animated The Lord of the Rings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Renato Mori</span> Italian actor and voice actor

Renato Pietro Mori was an Italian actor and voice actor.


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