Wednesday 12 September 2012

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to old actor who has played android and author, hobbit, physician and king called Ian Holm

Ian Holm, English actor known for his stage work and many film roles is 81 years old today. Ian seems to have been around for ever turn his hand to any role. I remember seeing him in two films in the 1960's playing 'Puck' the impish fairy in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and the Russian Commissar Yakovlev in 'Nicholas and Alexandra'.

What you possibly didn't know about Ian, that he :


* was born in Goodmayes, then in Essex and now in London, to Scottish parents, Jean and James Cuthbert who were both in the medical profession, his mother, a nurse and father was a psychiatrist who worked as the superintendent of a mental hospital and a pioneer of electric shock therapy.

* was educated at the independent Chigwell School in Essex then living in Worthing he joined an amateur dramatic society and a visit to the dentist led to an introduction to Henry, a well-known provincial Shakespearean actor, who helped him train for admission to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1949.

* had his studies were interrupted a year later when he was called up for National Service in the British Army where he attained the rank of lance corporal and graduated in 1953; and worked at Stratford for 13 yeas in the Royal Shakespeare Company under Peter Hall.

* moved to tv in 1965 playing Richard III (right) in 'Wars of the Roses'
and gradually made a name for himself with minor roles in films, 'Oh What a Lovely War' in 1969, 'Nicholas and Alexandra' and 'Mary Queen of Scots' in 1971 and 'Young Winston' in 1972.

* in 1967, won a Tony Award for 'Best Featured Actor in a Play' as Lenny (left) in 'The Homecoming' by Harold Pinter.

* went on to play Sadducee, Zerah (right)in the tv mini-series, 'Jesus of Nazareth', a villainous Moroccan in ' March or Die', author J.M.Barrie (below right) in the award-winning BBC tv series, 'The Lost Boys',
 the treacherous android (left) 'Ash', in Ridley Scott's 'Alien',
 the coach, Sam Mussabini in 'Chariots of Fire'.

* in the 1980s, he had memorable roles in 'Time Bandits', 'Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes' and Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' and played Lewis Carroll in 'Dreamchild' and was nominated for a BAFTA award in series, 'Game, Set and Match'.

* in the 1990's and after, played the gentle priest Vito Cornelius (left) in 'The Fifth Element', the tormented plaintiff's lawyer in 'The Sweet Hereafter', starred in 'From Hell' as the physician Sir William Gull and hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (right) in 'Lord of the Rings' and will reprise his role as the elder Bilbo in the 'to be released' movie 'The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey'

* was Harold Pinter's favourite actor, the playwright and once stated : "He puts on my shoe and it fits!"

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