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June 20, 2020

Vintage Photos of Sir Ian Holm From the 1960s to 1990s

Sir Ian Holm discovered his love for acting at an early age. He made his stage debut at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1954, then a London debut in 1956, and returned to Stratford as a part of the newly formed Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960. A well-known figure of the RSC, he acted in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and later won an Evening Standard best actor award for Henry V in 1965. He also received critical acclaims as Lenny in the production of The Homecoming, a role which would later win him a Tony award after its transfer to Broadway in 1967.

The actor turned his focus to films and televisions following a severe attack of stage fright during a performance of The Iceman Cometh in 1976. His cinema breakthrough came in 1979 with the role of Ash in Ridley Scott’s Alien. This role was followed up by his portrayal of Sam Mussabini, an Olympic trainer in Chariots of Fire (1981), which earned him a Best Supporting Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

With Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and Harry Dean Stanton on the set of 'Alien,' 1979. (Terry O'Neill)

Heralded as an actor whose qualities best suited for outstanding supporting parts, Holm’s notable works were Time Bandits (1981), Greystoke (1984), Dreamchild (1985), Brazil (1985), Dance with a Stranger (1985), and The Madness of King George (1994). A rare leading part that he managed to gain was the role of a persuasive lawyer in The Sweet Hereafter (1997), for which he received critical praise.

After seventeen years avoiding the theater, he made a comeback in Harold Pinter’s Moonlight in 1993. He returned to Shakespeare as King Lear at the National Theater in 1997, a defining role in his career that earned him an Olivier award and an Emmy award nomination. Holm was knighted a year after for his “services to drama.” In 1981, he played Frodo Baggins in the BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, but was much better known for playing the uncle hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, later in his career.

Take a look back at the actor through 23 photographs from the 1960s to 1990s:

As Henry V at the Aldwych Theatre, London, 1964. (PA)

As Romeo alongside Norman Rodway playing Mercutio at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1967. (PA)

As Puck in a film version of Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' 1968. (David Farrell)

As Zerah in the film 'Jesus of Nazareth,' 1977. (NBC)
As Zerah in the film 'Jesus of Nazareth,' 1977. (NBC)

1970s. (Hulton Archive)

With Yaphet Kotto and Sigourney Weaver on the set of 'Alien,' 1979. (Terry O'Neill)

In a scene from the movie 'Alien', 1979.

In a scene from the movie 'Alien', 1979.

With John Hurt on the set of 'Alien,' 1979. (Sunset Boulevard)

On the set of 'SOS Titanic' at Shepperton Studios, England, 1979. (Victor Crawshaw)

As White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay on the set of 'S.O.S. Titanic,' 1979. (United News)

As running coach Sam Mussabini, in a scene from 'Chariots of Fire,' 1981. (Warner Bros.)

With Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci in the US, 1990. (LIFE)

Publicity portrait for the film 'Naked Lunch,' 1991. (Fabian Cevallos)

With Sean Young, Michael Caine and director Russell Mulcahy on the set of the film 'Blue Ice,' 1992. (Keith Hamshere)

As clergyman and physician Francis Willis in the film 'The Madness of King George,' 1994. (Keith Hamshere)

In his dressing room in London, 1997. He is starring in the stage play of Shakespeare's 'King Lear'. (Steve Pyke)

In his dressing room in London, 1997. He is starring in the stage play of Shakespeare's 'King Lear'. (Steve Pyke)

Talking with Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Festival Hall, 1997. (John Stillwell)

Alongside Dame Judi Dench in London, 1998. (Stefan Rousseau)

Outside Buckingham Palace after receiving his Knighthood, 1998. (PA)

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