Monday, May 27, 2024

RIP Sir Ian Holm, 88, Beloved Actor, Oscar Nominated for “Chariots of Fire,” Starred in “Lord of the Rings,” “The Sweet Hereafter”


Sir Ian Holm — who’s gone at age 88 — was a keeper. His Oscar nomination came in 1982, for “Chariots of Fire.” He was one of the few stars whose career just kept getting bigger and bigger. He had memorable turns in so many movies– “Greystoke,” “Brazil,” “Dance with a Stranger,” he played Polonius in Franco Zefferelli’s “Hamlet” (to bolster Mel Gibson).

I think his zenith came in 1997 with “The Sweet Hereafter,” maybe the saddest movie ever made. He’s absolutely brilliant as the lawyer dealing with the parents of drowned schoolchildren from a bus accident.

Of course, Ian Holm was then four years away from his greatest success, playing Bilbo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. That’s what he’ll be remembered for. Then came his Parkinson’s diagnosis and a slow retreat from acting. I interviewed him many times and he was a delight, one of those great real people you looked forward to seeing all the time. I’ve missed him the last few years, and will always stop now to watch him when his visage appears on screen. Rest in peace.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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