Ian Holm, 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Alien' Star, Dead at 88

Classically trained Shakespearean actor Ian Holm has died at the age of 88. Best known for his roles in the Lord of the Rings and Alien, Holm died Friday morning at a hospital in London. His death was confirmed by his agent, who told The Guardian that Holms suffered from an illness that was related to Parkinson's.

In a statement, Holm's agent said that "it is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88." Holms "died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer." Remembering the actor as "charming, kind and ferociously talented," his agent said that they "will miss him hugely." The actor's final days were documented by his wife, Sophie de Stempel, who created a series of pastels that she shared to Instagram.

Born in 1931 in Essex, UK, Holm's early career involved him being a mainstay at the Royal Shakespeare Company in his early career, during which he won an Evening Standard best actor award for Henry V in 1965. He also earned Tony and Olivier awards before a case of stage fright, which he described as "a sort of breakdown," during previews for The Iceman Cometh left him unable to work in front of a live audience. He went on to develop a screen-acting career and achieved mainstream notice for his portrayal of the decapitated android Ash in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). He would go on to portray track coach Sam Mussabini in the historical sporting drama Chariots of Fire (1981), which took the Oscar for best picture and also saw Holm nominated for best supporting actor.

After portraying Bilbo Baggins in a 1981 radio adaptation of Lord of the Rings, Holm reprised the role in The Lord of the Rings films The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Return of the King (2003) as well as in The Hobbit Installments An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). In May, the films held a virtual reunion, which Holm was unable to attend. Addressing his absence, the actor said he was "sorry to not see you in person, I miss you all and hope your adventures have taken you to many places, I am in lockdown in my hobbit home, or holm."


Holm's other credits include Robin and Marian (1976), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), Big Night (1996), Night Falls on Manhattan (1996), The Fifth Element (1997), and Garden State (2004), as well as several others.