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Friday, June 19, 2020

Lord of the Rings star, Sir Ian Holm dies aged 88

English stage and film actor, Sir Ian Holm, who played Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings films, has died at the age of 88.

The award-winning actor passed away on Friday morning, June 19 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.

A statement from his agent Alex Irwin said: "It is with great sadness we can confirm that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88. He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer. His illness was Parkinson's related.

"An established star of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Harold Pinter's favourite actor, (he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor as Lenny in The Homecoming), Sir Ian was globally recognised for his extraordinarily impressive and varied career which included highlights such as Chariots of Fire, The Fifth Element, Alien, The Sweet Hereafter, Time Bandits, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Madness of King George.

"His portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings trilogies ensured the magic of his craft could be shared by all generations.

"He was a genius of stage and screen, winning multiple awards and loved by directors, audiences and his colleagues alike. His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely."

The actor, who was also an acclaimed theatre star, appeared in films such as Alien and The Madness Of King George.

Reacting to his death, Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) artistic director Gregory Doran said: "It is with great sadness that we heard today of the death of Sir Ian Holm. Ian was quite simply one of the RSC greats.

"Long before he found fame in Chariots Of Fire, Alien, Greystoke and as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord Of The Rings, Ian joined the Stratford Company in 1958."

He said: "Ian perfectly expressed the cross fertilisation between classics and new writing that Peter Hall forged in the early days of the RSC.

"He married the technique of a classical Shakespeare actor and the intense naturalism and economy of style of a modern tradition...

"Ian was entirely original. Entirely a one-off. He had a simmering cool, a compressed volcanic sense of ferocity, of danger, a pressure cooker actor, a rare and magnificent talent. There's a great spirit gone."

The National Theatre tweeted: We're very sad to hear that Ian Holm has passed away. He was an extraordinary actor and we have wonderful memories of his performance at the National Theatre as King Lear (1997).

BAFTA also issued a statement, saying: We are very sorry to hear of the death of Ian Holm. Nominated for 6 BAFTAs in his wide-ranging and successful career across TV and film, he is pictured here winning the Supporting Actor award for his role in Chariots Of Fire in 1981.

Sir Ian Holm, widely considered as one of the greatest British actors, played more than 100 roles in films, television and on stage. He won a Laurence Olivier award, a Tony and a Bafta, and was a member of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

He was married four times, most recently to artist Sophie de Stempel, and had five children.

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