Ian Holm Cuthbert
12 September 1931
Goodmayes, Essex, England
|Died||19 June 2020 (aged 88)|
|Resting place||Highgate Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
Sir Ian Holm Cuthbert CBE (12 September 1931 – 19 June 2020) was an English actor. After beginning his career on the British stage as a leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he became a successful and prolific performer on television and in films. He received numerous accolades including two BAFTA Awards and a Tony Award, along with nominations for an Academy Award and two Emmy Awards. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1989 by Queen Elizabeth II.
Holm won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in the Harold Pinter play The Homecoming. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in the title role in the 1998 West End production of King Lear. For his television roles he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for King Lear (1998), and the HBO film The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2003).
He gained acclaim for his role in The Bofors Gun (1968) winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA Award win for his role as athletics trainer Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire (1981). Other notable films he appeared in include Alien (1979), Brazil (1985), Henry V (1989), The Madness of King George (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), and The Aviator (2004). He gained wider appreciation for his role as the elderly Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. He also voiced Chef Skinner in the Pixar animated film Ratatouille (2007).
Ian Holm Cuthbert was born on 12 September 1931 in Goodmayes, Essex, to Scottish parents, James Harvey Cuthbert and his wife Jean Wilson (née Holm). His father was a psychiatrist who worked as the superintendent of the West Ham Corporation Mental Hospital and was one of the pioneers of electric shock therapy; his mother was a nurse. He had an older brother, who died when Ian was 12 years old. Holm was educated at the independent Chigwell School in Essex. His parents retired to Mortehoe in Devon and then to Worthing, where he joined an amateur dramatic society.
A chance encounter with Henry Baynton, a well-known provincial Shakespearean actor, helped Holm train for admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he secured a place from 1950. His studies were interrupted a year later when he was called up for National Service in the British Army, during which he was posted to Klagenfurt, Austria, and attained the rank of Lance Corporal. They were interrupted a second time when he volunteered to go on an acting tour of the United States in 1952. Holm graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1953.
He made his stage debut in 1954, at Stratford-upon-Avon, playing a spear-carrier in a staging of Othello. Two years later, he made his London stage debut in Love Affair.
Holm was an established star of the Royal Shakespeare Company before gaining notice in television and film. In 1965, he played Richard III in the BBC serialisation of The Wars of The Roses, based on the RSC production of the plays. In 1969, he appeared in Moonlight on the Highway. He appeared in minor roles in films such as Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Mary, Queen of Scots (1972) and Young Winston (1972).
In 1967 Holm won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play as Lenny in The Homecoming by Harold Pinter. In 1977, Holm appeared in the television mini-series Jesus of Nazareth as the Sadducee Zerah, and a villainous Moroccan in March or Die. The following year he played J. M. Barrie in the award-winning BBC mini-series The Lost Boys, In 1981, he played Frodo Baggins in the BBC radio adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Holm's first film role to gain much notice was that of Ash, the "calm, technocratic" science officer - later revealed to be an android - in Ridley Scott's science-fiction film Alien (1979). His portrayal of the running coach Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire (1981) earned him a special award at the Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In the 1980s, Holm had memorable roles in Time Bandits (1981), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) and Brazil (1985). He played Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, in Dreamchild (1985).
In 1989, Holm was nominated for a BAFTA award for the television series Game, Set and Match. Based on the novels by Len Deighton, this tells the story of an intelligence officer (Holm) who learns that his own wife is an enemy spy. He also continued to perform Shakespeare in films. He appeared with Kenneth Branagh in Henry V (1989) and as Polonius to Mel Gibson's Hamlet (1990). Holm was reunited with Branagh in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), playing the father of Branagh's Victor Frankenstein.
Holm raised his profile in 1997 with two prominent roles, as the priest Vito Cornelius in Luc Besson's sci-fi The Fifth Element and lawyer Mitchell Stephens in The Sweet Hereafter. In 2001 he starred in From Hell as the physician Sir William Withey Gull. The same year, he appeared as Bilbo Baggins in the blockbuster film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, having previously played Bilbo's nephew Frodo Baggins in the 1981 BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. He returned for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), for which he shared a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. He later reprised his role as the elderly Bilbo Baggins in the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Martin Freeman portrayed the young Bilbo Baggins in those films.
Holm was nominated for an Emmy Award twice, for a PBS broadcast of a National Theatre production of King Lear, in 1999; and for a supporting role in the HBO film The Last of the Blonde Bombshells opposite Judi Dench, in 2001. He appeared in two David Cronenberg films: Naked Lunch (1991) and eXistenZ (1999). He was Harold Pinter's favourite actor: the playwright once said: "He puts on my shoe, and it fits!" Holm played Lenny in both the London and New York City premieres of Pinter's The Homecoming. He played Napoleon Bonaparte three times: in the television mini-series Napoleon and Love (1974), Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits (1981), and The Emperor's New Clothes.
Holm also received royal recognition for his contributions: He was made CBE in 1989 and knighted in 1998.
Holm was married four times: to Lynn Mary Shaw in 1955 (divorced 1965); to Sophie Baker in 1982 (divorced 1986); to actress Penelope Wilton, in Wiltshire, in 1991 (divorced 2002); and to the artist Sophie de Stempel in 2003. He had two daughters from his first marriage, a son from his second marriage, and a son and daughter from his 15-year relationship with photographer Bee Gilbert.
Holm and Wilton appeared together in the BBC miniseries The Borrowers (1993). His last wife, Sophie de Stempel, is a protégée and was a life model of Lucian Freud, as well as an artist in her own right.
Holm was treated for prostate cancer in 2001 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He died in hospital in London on 19 June 2020 at the age of 88. His ashes are interred on the western side of Highgate Cemetery.
|1968||The Bofors Gun||Flynn|||
|A Midsummer Night's Dream||Puck|||
|1969||Oh! What a Lovely War||Raymond Poincaré|||
|1970||A Severed Head||Martin Lynch-Gibbon|||
|1971||Nicholas and Alexandra||Vasily Yakovlev|||
|Mary, Queen of Scots||David Rizzio|||
|1972||Young Winston||George E. Buckle|||
|1976||Robin and Marian||King John|||
|Shout at the Devil||Mohammed|||
|1977||March or Die||El Krim|||
|S.O.S. Titanic||J. Bruce Ismay|||
|1981||Chariots of Fire||Sam Mussabini|||
|1982||The Return of the Soldier||Doctor Anderson|||
|Inside the Third Reich||Joseph Goebbels|||
The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
|Capitain Philippe D'Arnot|||
|Terror in the Aisles||Ash|||
|1985||The Browning Version||Andrew Crocker-Harris|||
|Dreamchild||Charles L. Dodgson|||
|Dance with a Stranger||Desmond Cussen|||
|Mr and Mrs Edgehill||Eustace Edgehill|||
|1988||Another Woman||Ken Post|||
|1991||Naked Lunch||Tom Frost|||
|1992||Blue Ice||Sir Hector|||
|1993||The Hour of the Pig||Albertus|||
|1994||Mary Shelley's Frankenstein||Baron Alphonse Frankenstein|||
|The Madness of King George||Dr. Francis Willis|||
|Loch Ness||Water Bailiff|||
|1997||Night Falls on Manhattan||Liam Casey|||
|The Sweet Hereafter||Mitchell Stephens|||
|The Fifth Element||Father Vito Cornelius|||
|A Life Less Ordinary||Naville|||
|1998||Alice through the Looking Glass||White Knight|||
|Simon Magus||Sirius/Boris/The Devil|||
|Wisconsin Death Trip||Frank Cooper (voice)|||
|The Match||Big Tam|||
|2000||Joe Gould's Secret||Joe Gould|||
|The Miracle Maker||Pontius Pilate (voice)|||
|The Last of the Blonde Bombshells||Patrick|||
|Esther Kahn||Nathan Quellen|||
|Beautiful Joe||George The Geek|||
|Bless the Child||Reverend Grissom|||
|2001||From Hell||Sir William Gull|||
|The Emperor's New Clothes||Napoleon / Eugene Lenormand|||
|The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||Bilbo Baggins|||
|2003||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King|||
|2004||The Day After Tomorrow||Professor Terry Rapson|||
|Garden State||Gideon Largeman|||
|The Aviator||Professor Fitz|||
|2005||Strangers with Candy||Dr. Putney|||
|Lord of War||Simeon Weisz|||
|2006||Renaissance||Jonas Muller (voice)|||
|O Jerusalem||Ben Gurion|||
|The Treatment||Dr. Ernesto Morales|||
|2007||Ratatouille||Chef Skinner (voice)|||
|2012||The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey||Older Bilbo Baggins|||
|2014||The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies||Final acting role|||
|1972–74||BBC Play of the Month||Khrushchov/Oedipus||2 episodes|||
|1974||Napoleon and Love||Napoleon I||9 episodes|||
|1974–75||The Lives of Benjamin Franklin||Wedderburn||3 episodes|||
|1975||Private Affairs||David Garrick||Episode: Mr Garrick and Mrs Woffington|||
|1977||The Man in the Iron Mask||Duval||Television film|||
|Jesus of Nazareth||Zerah||Parts 1 & 2|||
|Jubilee||Bill Ramsey||Episode: Ramsey|||
|1978||Do You Remember?||Walter Street||Episode: Night School|||
|The Lost Boys||J. M. Barrie||3 episodes|||
|Holocaust||Heinrich Himmler||2 episodes|||
|Les Misérables||Thénardier||Television film|||
|The Thief of Baghdad||The Gatekeeper||Television film|||
|1979||All Quiet on the Western Front||Himmelstoss||Television film|||
|S.O.S. Titanic||Bruce Ismay||Television film|||
|1980||We, the Accused||Paul Pressett||Miniseries; 5 episodes|||
|The Misanthrope||Alceste||Television film|||
|1982||The Bell||Michael Meade||TV|||
|Play for Today||Alexie||Television play (episode: Soft Targets)|||
|1982||Tales of the Unexpected||Alan Corwin||Television play (episode: Death Can Add)|||
|1985||Television||Narrator||Television documentary series|||
|1986||Murder by the Book||Hercule Poirot||Television film|||
|1988||Game, Set and Match||Bernard Samson||13 episodes|||
|1989||The Tailor of Gloucester||The Tailor||Television film|
|1989||The Endless Game||Control||2 episodes|||
|1991||Uncle Vanya||Astrov||BBC TV|||
|1992||The Borrowers||Pod Clock||6 episodes|||
|1993||The Return of the Borrowers||Pod Clock||6 episodes|||
|1999||Animal Farm||Squealer (voice)||Television film|
|2003||Monsters We Met||Narrator||Television documentary|||
|2004||The Last Dragon||Narrator||Television film|||
|2005||The Adventures of Errol Flynn||Narrator||Television documentary|||
|2009||1066: The Battle for Middle Earth||Narrator||2 episodes|||
|1960||Troilus and Cressida||Troilus||Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|1962||Measure for Measure||Claudio|
|1967||The Homecoming||Lenny||Music Box Theatre, Broadway|
|1967||Romeo and Juliet||Romeo||Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|1997||King Lear||Lear||Cottesloe Theatre, London|
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Ian Holm
he took the part of Frodo Baggins in BBC Radio 4's massive adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, which featured Holm alongside a host of other stars including Michael Hordern and Robert Stephens.