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Holm, Sir Ian (1931-)


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Ian Holm trained at RADA, and was for some years on the London stage before making his screen debut in The Bofors Gun (d. Jack Gold, 1968), for which he won a BAFTA as best supporting actor. This award was also given for Chariots of Fire (d. Hugh Hudson, 1981) in addition to an Oscar nomination for the same performance.

Holm has distinguished himself as one of the leading character actors of his generation, with roles as varied as the robot in Alien (UK/US, d. Ridley Scott, 1979), the petty bureaucrat in Brazil (d. Terry Gilliam, 1985), Fluellen in Henry V (d. Kenneth Branagh, 1989) and Polonius in Hamlet (UK/US, d. Franco Zeffirelli, 1990). He gave much admired performances in leading roles as Lewis Carroll in Dreamchild (d. Gavin Millar, 1985) and in The Sweet Hereafter (Canada, d. Atom Egoyan, 1997).

He has also done a great deal of superb TV, including The Lost Boys (BBC, 1978), as J.M. Barrie, and a brave King Lear (BBC, tx. 21/3/1998), and he resumed his stage career in 2001, in a revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, the play that made his name. He was awarded a CBE in 1989 and knighted in 1998. His second wife was Penelope Wilton; they divorced in 2001.

Simon Caterson, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Brazil (1985)Brazil (1985)

Terry Gilliam's pessimistic but dazzling vision of a future Britain

Thumbnail image of Chariots of Fire (1981)Chariots of Fire (1981)

Oscar-winning story of two British Olympic athletes

Thumbnail image of Dance With a Stranger (1984)Dance With a Stranger (1984)

Miranda Richardson's breakthrough role as murderess Ruth Ellis

Thumbnail image of Time Bandits (1981)Time Bandits (1981)

Rich, witty fantasy from the hyper- active imagination of Terry Gilliam

Thumbnail image of Borrowers, The (1992-93)Borrowers, The (1992-93)

Children's drama series about six-inch people

Thumbnail image of Jesus of Nazareth (1977)Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

Robert Powell plays Jesus Christ in Franco Zeffirelli's famous miniseries

Thumbnail image of Last of the Blonde Bombshells, The (2000)Last of the Blonde Bombshells, The (2000)

Uplifting 3rd age jazz musical starring Judi Dench

Thumbnail image of Plane Makers/Power Game, The (1963-69)Plane Makers/Power Game, The (1963-69)

Compelling boardroom intrigue, starring Patrick Wymark

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