Tributes pour in for Ian Holm

Versatile character actor was 88

by Jennie Kermode

Ian Holm as Ash in Alien
Ian Holm as Ash in Alien

Sir Ian Holm has passed away from complications of Parkinson's disease, his agent revealed today. The much loved actor was known for his work in films as varied as Chariots Of Fire, Alien, Robin And Marian, The Fifth Element, Dance With A Stranger and the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films, in which he played the older Bilbo Baggins. He worked with Terry Gilliam on Time Bandits and Brazil, and with David Cronenberg on Naked Lunch and eXistenZ.

A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was celebrated for his stage work and his contributions to bringing Shakespeare to the screen, with performances in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet and Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. He received six BAFTA nominations over the course of his career.

Paying tribute, Edgar Wright described Holm as "a genius actor who brought considerable presence to parts funny, heartbreaking and terrifying," while producer Jonathan Sothcott remembered him as "an exemplary actor who brought gravity and conviction to everything he did."

Holm, who had previously survived prostate cancer, died peacefully in hospital, surrounded by his loved ones. He is survived by his wife, the artist Sophie de Stempel; five children, Jessica, Sarah-Jane, Melissa, Barnaby and Harry; and grandson Archie.

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