Born on September 12, 1931, in Goodmayes, England, Ian Holm fell in love with acting at age 8, after seeing Les Miserables. Holm is known for playing Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson, as well as for notable parts in Alien, The Fifth Element and The Sweet Hereafter. Holm reprised his role as Baggins in the 2012 film The Hobbit.
Born Ian Holm Cuthbert on September 12, 1931, in Goodmayes, England, Ian Holm fell in love with acting at the age of 8, after seeing a production of Les Miserables. His mother, Jean Wilson, was a nurse; his father, Harvey Cuthbert, was a psychiatrist. As a young man, Holm studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and spent much of his 30s developing his craft as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
By the late 1960s, Holm began to branch off with small television roles in such shows as Oh! What a Lovely War (1969); ITV Saturday Night Theatre (1969); Mary, Queen of Scots (1971); and Napoleon and Love (1974). While his list of television credits was growing, Holm still appeared on stage, but he succumed to stagefright during a 1976 production of Eugene O'Neil's The Iceman Cometh, famously refusing to leave his dressing room before his second performance. He did one more play following the breakdown, but then took a 14-year hiatus from theater. During that break, he played a number of famous television and film roles.
Holm has credits in more than 40 movies. One of his earliest notable film roles was that of an athletic coach in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Other notable films include Alien (1979), The Madness of King George (1994) and The Fifth Element (1997). His performance in the 1997 Canadian film The Sweet Hearafter marked his first leading role in a movie; he was widely praised by critics for his part in the film.
In 2001, Holm appeared as Bilbo Baggins in the first installment of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He reprised the role in Jackson's new film trilogy, The Hobbit, in which actor Martin Freeman plays the younger Bilbo. Often cast in supporting roles, Holm has said he doesn't mind being out of the spotlight. "As an actor, I'm very much a company person," he once stated. "And this also goes through my life: I have a dread of responsibility. I like someone else to be in charge."
Sir Ian Holm was knighted in 1998. He resides in London with his fourth wife, and has five children from his previous relationships. In 2001, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and received treatment in the United States.
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