Ian Holm filmography and biography
Date of birth: 12 September 1931, Goodmayes, Essex, England, UK
Ian Holm biography
Sir Ian Holm is an Academy Award-nominated British film and stage actor
who was a star of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and played more than
100 roles in films and on television.
He was born Ian Holm Cuthbert on September 12, 1931, in Goodmayes, Essex, UK. His father, Doctor James Cuthbert, was a psychiatrist in the Essex mental asylum, where his mother, Jean Wilson worked as a nurse. Young Holm was brought up in London. At the age of seven he was inspired by the seeing 'Les Miserables' and became fond of acting. Holm studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 1950 to the Royal Shakespeare Company. There he emerged as an actor whose range and effortless style allowed him to play almost entire Shakespeare's repertoire. In 1959 his stage partner Laurence Olivier scored a hit on Ian Holm in a sword fight in a production of 'Coriolanus'. Holm still has a scar on his finger.
In 1965 Holm made his debut on television as Richard III on the BBC's War of the Roses, which was a filmed theatrical production of four of Shakespeare's plays condensed down into a trilogy. In 1969 Holm won his first BAFTA Film Award Best Supporting Actor for The Bofors Gun, then followed a flow of awards and nominations for his numerous works in film and on television. In 1981 Holm shot to fame with one of his best known roles, as Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire, for which he was nominated for Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He is best known for his big action film roles, such as Father Vito Cornelius in The Fifth Element, as Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and as Professor Fitz in The Aviator.
Ian Holm has five children, three daughters and two sons from the first three of his five wives. In 1989 Holm was created a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), and in 1998 he was knighted for his services to drama.
Ian Holm trivia
- Children - with Lynn Mary Shaw: daughters Jessica Holm and Sarah-Jane Holm; with Sophie Baker: son Harry Holm; also had son Barnaby Holm and daughter Melissa Holm (I) (who is now a casting director under the name of Lissy Holm) with professional photographer Bee Gilbert, with whom Holm had a relationship after his first marriage (1965-1976) but never married.
- He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1990 and Knighthood of the British Empire in the 1998 Queen's Birthday Honors List for his services to drama.
- Developed a severe case of stage fright in 1976 while performing The Iceman Cometh and left the theatre. He has only returned three times since then.
- Clearly has no objections to being buried up to his neck in the pursuit of his craft, as this has happened to him in no less than three films: Alien, Brazil and Simon Magus.
- He was awarded the 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor of the 1997 season for his performance in "King Lear" at the Royal National Theatre: Cottesloe stage.
- He was awarded the 1993 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in "Moonlight."
- He was awarded the 1997 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama) for Best Actor for his performance in King Lear at the Royal National Theatre.
- He was awarded the 1993 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actor in "Moonlight." His wife, Penelope Wilton, was awarded Best Actress for "The Deep Blue Sea" at the same awards ceremony.
- He was awarded the 1997 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in "King Lear."
- Has two roles in common with Orson Bean. Bean was the voice of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit (1977) (TV), while Holm played in the Peter Jackson (I) trilogy. Bean also played Frodo in The Return of the King (1980) (TV); Holm played Frodo on BBC radio.
- An Associate Member of RADA.
- Has played Napoleon Bonaparte three times in Napoleon and Love, Time Bandits and The Emperors New Clothes - and was a front-runner for the part in Stanley Kubrick (I)'s unproduced biopic.
- Won Broadway's 1967 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming," a role he recreated in the film version with the same title, The Homecoming.
- Played a meteorologist in The Day After Tomorrow (as Professor Terry Rapson) and The Aviator (as Professor Fitz).
- Though he has only appeared in two production of The Lord of the Rings, he has worked with three Aragorns. He appeared with Viggo Mortensen in the Lord of the Rings films, Robert Stephens (I) in the radio adaptation, and worked with John Hurt in Alien. Mortensen and Hurt were also both last-minute replacements for other actors.
- Treated for prostate cancer in 2001.
- Was slated to play Pope John Paul II in a CBS miniseries, but had to drop out because of undisclosed "personal reasons". Jon Voight took his place.
- In a return to the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he first received acclaim in the mid-60s for his contemporary stylings of Richard III and Henry V, he developed a confidence-shattering case of "stage fright" during a 1976 performance of "The Iceman Cometh" and quickly withdrew from the production. His only stage appearance for almost two decades was as Astrov in "Uncle Vanya" in 1979. He finally returned to the theatre to create the role of Andy in Harold Pinter's short play "Moonlight" in 1993 for which he received the Evening Standard Award. His King Lear a few years later earned him the Olivier Award as well as the Evening Standard and London Critic's Circle Theatre awards.
Ian Holm quotes
- On his Hobbit feet in the "Lord of the Rings" films: "These things are like boats with toes."
- "While shooting in Mexico, all conversation was dominated by bowels. During filming, if you'll pardon the expression, you're frightened to fart."
- "I've always been a minimalist. It was Bogart who once said, 'If you think the right thoughts, the camera will pick it up'. The most important thing in the face is the eyes, and if you can make the eyes talk, you're halfway there."