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Ian Holm Dead: ‘Lord of the Rings’ Star Dies at 88 After Battling Parkinson’s Disease

Ian Holm, the actor best known for his roles in the Lord of the Rings movies and Alien, died on Friday, June 19. He was 88.

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His agent, Alex Irwin, confirmed to Us Weekly that Holm died at a hospital in London from an illness related to Parkinson’s disease. His family and carer were at his bedside when he passed.

“He was a genius of stage and screen, winning multiple awards, and loved by directors, audiences and his colleagues alike. His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye,” Irwin said in a statement to Us. “Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely.”

Ian Holm Dead Lord of the Rings Star Parkinsons Disease
Ian Holm Jon Furniss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Holm was born in Essex, England, in September 1931 and began studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1949. After serving in the British Army, he starred in several Royal Shakespeare Company productions and won a Tony Award for his role in The Homecoming in 1967.

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Over time, Holm shifted his focus from the stage to TV and film. In 1979, he played the android Ash in Alien. Two years later, his portrayal of athletics coach Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor and a win at the BAFTA Awards.

Ian Holm Dead Lord of the Rings Star Parkinsons Disease
Ian Holm Pierre Vinet/New Line/Saul Zaentz/Wing Nut/Kobal/Shutterstock

Holm’s biggest role came in 2001 when he starred as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He reprised the character in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King two years later and again in 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

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“I’m completely amazed by the reaction that the films have had,” the actor told The Independent in September 2004. “I get a lot of fan mail addressed to Bilbo and sometimes Sir Bilbo — it’s hardly ever addressed to Ian Holm, in fact. My business manager drafts the replies, and then I pop in to the office and sign them, ‘Bilbo!’”

Holm’s other credits included 1997’s The Fifth Element, 1998’s King Lear, 2004’s The Aviator and 2007’s Ratatouille.

Holm is survived by his fourth wife, Sophie de Stempel, five children and eight grandchildren.

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