Ian Holm, Oscar-Nominated Chariots of Fire, Lord of the Rings Actor, Dies at 88

The actor was nominated for an Oscar for his role in 1981's Chariots of Fire, and he also played an iconic part in the 1979 sci-fi classic Alien

Ian Holm
Ian Holm in April 2019. Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Ian Holm, best known for playing Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films, has died. He was 88.

On Friday, a rep for the actor confirmed the news to The Guardian, telling the outlet in a statement that Holm died in London from an illness related to Parkinson's disease.

"It is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88," read the statement. "He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer. ... Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely."

Holm was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1981 sports film Chariots of Fire.

The classically trained Shakespearean performer later appeared in the LOTR and Hobbit films. He first became Bilbo in 2001's Fellowship of the Ring, sharing the screen with Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen.

"I'm completely amazed by the reaction that the films have had. I get a lot of fan mail addressed to Bilbo and sometimes Sir Bilbo — it's hardly ever addressed to Ian Holm, in fact," the star told The Independent in 2004. "My business manager drafts the replies, and then I pop in to the office and sign them, 'Bilbo!' But, of course, it hasn't changed my life. Nothing could possibly change my life."

Ian Holm
Ian Holm in 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. New Line/Kobal/Shutterstock

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At the time, the outlet asked Holm whether he ever wanted to become more of the leading man, after a career spent mostly in supporting roles. "Certainly not," he replied.

"As an actor, I'm very much a company person," said Holm. "And this also goes through my life: I have a dread of responsibility. I like someone else to be in charge."

Ian Holm
Ian Holm in 1986. Paul Harris/Getty Images

Aside from playing the pivotal Middle-earth character, Holm is also recognizable from his iconic turn as Ash, the antagonist to Sigourney Weaver in 1979's sci-fi thriller Alien.

According to The Guardian, Holm is survived by his fourth wife, Sophie de Stempel — who wrote on Instagram on Friday, "With great sadness the wonderful lam Holm died today" — and five children from former relationships.

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