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Lord Of The Rings Star Sir Ian Holm Has Passed Away Aged 88

Lord Of The Rings star Sir Ian Holm has passed away aged 88 in hospital, due to an illness related to Parkinson’s disease. 

It has been confirmed by a representative of the actor that Holm has passed away in the hospital due to an illness related to Parkinson’s disease.

The rep informed The Guardian: “It is with great sadness 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.

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

The passing of the Oscar-nominated star has come just weeks after he made an apology to fans for not attending the virtual reunion of the Lord Of The Rings cast.

The star, who played Bilbo Baggins, stated: “I am 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 began his acting career on stage and he became a rising star of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Like many actors, Holm began his acting career on stage and he became a rising star of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1965, he made his appearance in the BBC adaption of War Of The Roses.

In 1967, the actor was dubbed Harold Pinter’s favourite actor after starring in his play ‘The Homecoming’ as Lenny.

The playwright was recalled saying: “He puts on my shoe, and it fits!”

Yet in the mid-70s, Holm felt obliged to quit the stage after he experienced a severe case of stage fright or “a sort of breakdown” whilst performing ‘The Iceman Cometh’.

In 1998, he spoke of the period: “I got into my first preview, which I just managed to get through. Then in the second preview, on the following night, I just walked off the stage and into the dressing room and said, ‘I’m not going back. I cannot go back.’ And they had to put the understudy on. My doctor said, ‘The Iceman goeth’.

“Something just snapped. Once the concentration goes, the brain literally closes down. It’s like a series of doors slamming shut in a jail. Actors dry up all the time. Well, I wasn’t just drying; I was stopping. My fellow actors were looking at me in amazement.”

The Fifth Element. Credit: Columbia

Yet just two years later, Holm earned himself an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, a Bafta win and a special award at the Cannes Film Festival after playing Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire.

Subsequently, he starred in films including Time Bandits, Dreamchild and Brazil. In 1997, Holms appeared as Vito Cornelius in The Fifth Element.

Holm as Bilbo Baggins in JRR Tolkien’s saga, Lord Of The Rings. Credit: New Line Cinema

However, it was in 2001 that Holm’s career truly blossomed. He was cast as Bilbo Baggins in Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.

Holm’s had actually already starred in an adaption of JRR Tolkien’s saga, as he had played Baggin’s nephew Frodo in the 1981 radio adaption of the fantasy tale.

Following the success of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Holm’s starred in 2003’s The Return Of The King and elderly Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – in which Martin Freeman played a much younger Baggins.

In 2014, The Battle of the Five Armies marked Holm’s last credit in a film.

Holm as Skinner in Ratatouille. Credit: Pixar

In more recent years, Holm voiced Skinner in Ratatouille and also starred in 2004’s The Aviator alongside Leonardo Di Caprio as Professor Fitz.

In 1989, the actor was awarded a CBE and in 1998, he was knighted for his services to drama.

Throughout his life, Holm was regarded as a bit of a lothario due to having married four times. From 1955 to 1965 to Lynn Mary Shaw, to Sophie Baker from 1982 to 1986 and then to Downton Abbey actress Penelope Winton from 1991 until 2001.

Holm married artist Sophie de Stempel in 2003 and they remained together until his death.

Holm had five children, daughters Jessica, Sarah-Jane and Melissa, and sons Barnaby and Harry – from three different relationships.

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