In memoriam – Alien and Lord of the Rings icon Ian Holm passes away
The sad news is reaching us that British acting legend Sir Ian Holm has passed away in hospital today at the age of 88. Although the exact cause of his death is unreported at this time, it is a sad day for his many fans both of his on-screen work alongside his stage prowess.
Ian Holm Cuthbert was born on the 12th of September 1931 in Goodmayes in Essex, England to Scottish parents. He had an older brother, Eric who sadly passed away in 1943. After a visit to his dentist, Sir Ian was introduced to Henry Baynton, a well-known and respected Shakespearean actor who took it upon himself to train the young man for admission to the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art which he managed to attain in 1949, although a year later, Holms’ studies were interrupted when he was called up to do his national service in the British Army. After finally completing his training and graduating from RADA in 1953, he found himself staying at Stratford for 13 years where he graduated to significant roles after Peter Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960.
Holm first appeared on TV in a BBC serialization of ‘The War Of The Roses‘ in which he played Richard III before moving on to minor roles in films before his first major impact in cinema came as the character of the villainous robot Ash in 1979s Ridley Scott film ‘Alien‘. Holm displayed a fantastic acting prowess in the role, keeping the character grounded in reality before the shocking reveal of his true nature three-quarters of the way through the film. It was a masterclass of acting by Holm and the way he kept the secret under wraps throughout proceedings was exemplary. An Academy Award nomination came his way after his portrayal of Sam Mussabini in the Oscar-winning ‘Chariots Of Fire‘ in 1981, winning him a Bafta and a special award at the Cannes Film Festival for the same role. Other appearances during the 1980s included roles in ‘Time Bandits’, ‘Brazil’ and ‘Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes’.
He returned to Shakespeare with roles in Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Henry V‘ in 1989, alongside Mel Gibson in ‘Hamlet‘ a year later and for a PBS broadcast of the National Theatre production of ‘King Lear‘ in 1999. Holm also appeared in Branagh’s ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein‘, the Bruce Willis sci-fi actioner ‘The Fifth Element‘, the Johnny Depp starring ‘From Hell‘ before he took on the role that many young people will recognize him for as he played Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings‘ trilogy, a role he returned to in Jackson’s film versions of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ and ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies‘. By paying Bilbo Baggins, Holm came full circle as back in 1981, he played the role of Frodo Baggins in a BBC radio adaptation of ‘The Lord Of The Rings‘.
Sir Ian Holm leaves behind a widow, Sophie de Stempel, five children, and one grandchild.
We at The Future Of The Force wish to send our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to Sir Ian’s family at this sad time. We also wish to place on record our thanks to the memory of Sir Ian Holm and for all the memorable and outstanding performances he gave us throughout his life and career. We thank you, we admire you and we will certainly miss you.
May you rest in peace.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!