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‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Alien’ actor Sir Ian Holm dies aged 88

Legendary British actor Sir Ian Holm has passed away overnight, following an ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. Holm was best known for his role as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings series, android Ash in 1979’s Alien, and his Oscar-nominated role as Olympic athletics coach Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire.

He has been remembered by fans and peers as “a genius actor who brought considerable presence to parts funny, heartbreaking and terrifying”.

ian holm
Photo: Clarence Williams / Los Angeles Times

The British Theatre is currently in mourning following the passing of actor Sir Ian Holm, aged 88. The National Theatre, director Edgar Wright, and actor Samuel West have all taken to social media to pay their respects to the late star.

Holm’s death was announced late last night by his long time agent and collaborator Alex Irwin.

“It is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88,” Irwin’s statement read. “He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer,” adding that his illness was Parkinson’s related. “Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”

With credits ranging from the big screen to his monumental 1997 portrayal of King Lear, Holm has been long celebrated for his passion, determination, and creative resilience. Departing from the theatre in 1976 due to severe performance anxiety, Holm continued to make a name for himself across cinematic generations; landing roles in 1981’s Chariots of Fire, and later the blockbuster Lord of the Rings franchise.

The actor would go on to win 10 awards throughout his career, BAFTAs and Tonys included, receive an Order of the British Empire in 1989, and be knighted in 1998 for his contribution to the arts.

Wife Stophie de Stempel documented her husband’s final days through a collection of stirring pastel portraits. View some of the finished series below:

 

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