Born: 12 September 1931
Birthplace: Goodmayes, England
Best known as: Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings movies
On stage since the 1950s, England's Sir Ian Holm built on his solid career as a Shakespearean actor with diverse movie roles that included The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Holm is a versatile actor who was an intense leading man in his younger days, getting raves for his performances in British stage productions and winning a Tony for his role in the 1967 Broadway version of The Homecoming. He famously had a bout of stage fright in 1976 while performing The Iceman Cometh and stayed absent from the stage until 1993 (excepting one performance in 1979). Fortunately, Holm had plenty of work in television and the movies. He gained international celebrity in the 1980s, thanks to his turn as a sneaky android in Alien (1979, starring Sigourney Weaver) and his Oscar-nominated role as a running coach in Chariots of Fire (1981). Lacking the height of the average Hollywood leading man, Holm has often played supporting roles in the movies, with the notable exception of The Sweet Hereafter (1997, based on the novel by Russell Banks). His memorable movies include the Terry Gilliam films Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985); the 1989 version of Henry V and the 1990 version of Hamlet; the BBC productions of The Borrowers (1992 and 1993); the Stanley Tucci film Big Night (1996, with Tony Shalhoub); the Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller The Fifth Element (1997, with Milla Jovovich); and the Peter Jackson versions of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). For his contributions to the theater he was knighted in 1998.
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