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 2018
Born (1944-05-05) 5 May 1944 (age 76)
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor, voice actor
Years active1964–present
Suzanne Wilkinson
(m. 1966;died 2010)
Partner(s)Lisa Manning (2000–present)

John Rhys-Davies (born 5 May 1944) is a Welsh actor and voice actor. He is known for portraying the role of Gimli and the voice of Treebeard in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Sallah in the Indiana Jones films. He also played Michael Malone in the 1993 remake of the 1950s television series The Untouchables , Vasco Rodrigues in the mini-series Shōgun , Prof. 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 . He provided the voices of 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 the computer game Freelancer .


Early life

John Rhys-Davies was born on 5 May 1944 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England [1] and was brought up there, in Tanganyika and in Ammanford, Wales. [1] His mother, Phyllis Jones, was a nurse, and his father, Rhys Davies, was a mechanical engineer [2] and colonial officer. [3] In the early 1950s, his family lived for several years in Kongwa, Dar es Salaam, Moshi and Mwanza, Tanganyika, while his father was serving there as a colonial police officer. He was educated at Truro School and at the University of East Anglia where he was one of the first 105 students admitted, and where he founded the Dramatic Society. After teaching at Watton County Secondary School in Norfolk, he won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


He 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 two of the 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, Quillian 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

He is also known for his popular portrayal of 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, got the tattoo instead as Rhys-Davies was disinclined to get one himself. [11]

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 "They'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." [12]

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. [13]

Voice work

John Rhys-Davies in 2012 John Rhys-Davies (7979439918).jpg
John Rhys-Davies in 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 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 . [14] 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 . [15]

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. [16]

In 2016, he provided spoken words for Voices of Fire , the sixth album by a cappella power metal band van Canto. [17]

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 [18]

Personal life

Rhys-Davies in a film festival Q&A in Poland John Rhys-Davies byVetulani.JPG
Rhys-Davies in a film festival Q&A in Poland

Rhys-Davies married Suzanne Wilkinson in December 1966. They had two sons. Although they separated in 1985, they remained married until her death in 2010 from Alzheimer's disease. He remained close to her and took care of her until she died. [19]

In 2004, he began living with Lisa Manning. They have a daughter, and live in both Waikato, New Zealand [20] and the Isle of Man. [21]

Religious views

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

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[.] . . . [w]e 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. [22] [23]

Rhys-Davies, in an interview at the 28th Movieguide Awards

He has played roles in several Christian films, including Mordecai in One Night with the King , Saint Peter in The Apostle Peter: Redemption, Evangelist in The Pilgrim's Progress (2019), and Charles Kemp in Beyond the Mask .

Political views

Rhys-Davies in an autograph session in Sweden John Rhys-Davies under autografsession.jpg
Rhys-Davies in an autograph session in Sweden

Rhys-Davies is not a member of any political party. As a university student in the 1960s, he had been a radical leftist, but changed his views when he went to heckle Margaret Thatcher. Rhys-Davies says that "she shot down the first two hecklers in such brilliant fashion that I decided I ought for once to shut up and listen". [24]

In 2004, Rhys-Davies stated the following in an interview with World magazine about the Muslim population, stating:

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 per cent of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. [25]

His comments were endorsed by the British National Party. [26] [27] Rhys-Davies commented that the BNP was so insignificant in numbers that it "could do no harm" yet stating it was "distressing to find yourself on a BNP leaflet". [25] He was also endorsed in a National Vanguard editorial. [28] In an interview with the conservative journal National Review , he said that he is opposed to Islamic extremism precisely because he feels that it violates the "Western values" of equality, democracy, tolerance and the abolition of slavery. [29]

Rhys-Davies is a supporter of Brexit. [30]



1973 Penny Gold Rugby Player
1974 The Black Windmill Fake Military PolicemanUncredited
1975 The Naked Civil Servant Barndoor
1978 The Nativity NestorTV Movie
1979 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Solicitor
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Sallah
Peter and Paul Silas TV Movie
1982 Best Revenge Mustapha
Ivanhoe Front de Bœuf
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
Goddess of Love Zeus TV Movie
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Sallah
Rising Storm Donwaldo
1991The Unnamable Returns
1992 The Double 0 Kid Rudi Von Keseenbaum
The Lost World Professor Challenger
Return to the Lost World 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
1996 The Great White Hype Johnny Windsor
Glory Daze Luther
Aladdin and the King of Thieves Cassim 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 Britannic Captain Charles Bartlett TV Movie
Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists King Akron / Baraka
2001 Never Say Never Mind: The Swedish Bikini Team Hakim
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Gimli
2002 Sabretooth Anthony Bricklin
Endangered Species Police Lt. Wyznowski
Scorcher Dr. Matthew Sallin
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Gimli, Treebeard
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Coronado Presidente Hugo Luis Ramos
The Jungle Book 2 Ranjan's father
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 ThortonEnglish 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
2009 Reclaiming the Blade NarratorVoice
31 North 62 East John Hammond
2010Medium Raw: Night of the WolfElliot CarbonTV Movie
Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes Dr. Watson 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 GnarlybeardDirect-to-video
Prisoners of the Sun Prof. Hayden Masterton
2014 Apocalypse Pompeii Colonel Dillard
Saul: The Journey to DamascusCaiphas
The Prophet Yousef
2015 Beyond the Mask [31] Charles Kemp
2016The Apostle Peter: Redemption Saint Peter
2017 Camera Store Pinky Steuben
Aquaman Brine King
2019 The Pilgrim's Progress EvangelistVoice
Valley of the Gods Dr. Herrmann
Santa Fake Joe O'Brian
Mosley WarnieVoice


1974 Fall of Eagles Zinoviev Episode: "The Secret War"
1975 The Sweeney Ron BrettEpisode: "Poppy" (season 2, episode 8)
1976 I, Claudius Macro Episodes 8 and 9
1977 1990 Ivor GriffithEpisode: "Health Farm"
Just William AuthorityEpisode: "William and the Wonderful Present"
1978 Z Cars Terry LarkinEpisode: "Fat Freddie B.A."
1979-1980 BBC Television Shakespeare 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
1982 CHiPs NakuraSeason 5, episode 27
Ivanhoe Front-de-Boeuf
1983 Reilly, Ace of Spies Tanyatos
1984 Robin of Sherwood King Richard Episode: "The King's Fool" (series 1, episode 6) [32]
Scarecrow and Mrs. King Lord BromfieldEpisode: "Affair at Bromfield Hall" (season 2, episode 8)
1987Marjorie and the Preacher Man [33] SeymourTelevision Drama
The Little Match GirlPolice Chief MurphyTV Movie
1988 - 1994 Murder, She Wrote Harry Mordecai / Harry Waverly / Lancaster3 episodes (he played different characters)
1988 Noble House Quillan GorntMiniseries
War and Remembrance Sammy MutterperlMiniseries
1989 The Trial of the Incredible Hulk Wilson Fisk TV film
1991 Great Expectations Joe Gargery
The Mystery of the Black Jungle O'ConnorMiniseries
Tales from the Crypt DuvalEpisode: "Dead Wait"
The Strauss DynastyGribovMiniseries
1992 Batman: The Animated Series 'Baron' Waclaw JozekEpisode: "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy"
Perry Mason Phillip GraffEpisode: "The Case of the Fatal Framing"
Archaeology: Voyages of the VikingsNarratorDocumentary series (TLC (TV network))
Ring of the MusketeersMaurice TrevilleTV Movie
1992-1993 The Legend of Prince Valiant King Hugo, King Donovan8 episodes
1993–1994 The Untouchables Agent Malone15 episodes
1994 A Flintstones Christmas Carol Charles BrickensTelevision Special
1995–1997 Sliders Professor Maximillian Arturo40 episodes
1995 Fantastic Four Thor
2 episodes; Season 2, episodes 6 and 8
Archaeology: Florida's Lost EmpireHostDocumentary series (TLC (TV network))
1996 The Incredible Hulk Episode: "Mortal Bounds"
1995-1996 Gargoyles Macbeth13 episodes
1996 Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh NarratorHalloween television special
Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm AsgarthEpisode: "Overthrown"
1997 You Wish Madman Mustapha3 episodes
Star Trek: Voyager Leonardo da Vinci 2 episodes (Scorpion and Concerning Flight)
1999 Au Pair Nigel KentTelevision film
2002 Justice League Hades Episode: "Paradise Lost" Parts 1 & 2
The Zeta Project Edgar MandragoraEpisode: "Ro's Gift"
2000-2002 SpongeBob SquarePants Man Ray2 episodes
2002 Fillmore! LennyEpisode: "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 ProteusEpisode: "Demon of the Deep"
2008 Anaconda 3: Offspring MurdochTelevision film
Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles SangimelTelevision 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 Green
2012 Psych Museum curatorSeason 6, episode 10
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 / Season 4, Episodes 1, 6, 7
2015 Killing Jesus Annas
The Adventures of Puss in Boots GoodswordEpisode: "Sword"
2016 The Shannara Chronicles Eventine ElessedilRegular
Winter ThawMartin AvdeitchTelevision Film
The Lion Guard King SokweSeason 1, episode 22 "The Lost Gorillas"
2018A Dickens Christmas (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)NarratorMormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert Special
2019Fresh EggsCutter Anderson [30]
2020 Wizards: Tales of Arcadia Galahad

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')
2009 Risen Don Esteban
TBA Star Citizen Graves


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