Friday, June 19, 2020

RIP Ian Holm

As the conniving Zerah in 1977's Jesus of Nazareth
Sir Ian Holm, one of the greatest and most versatile actors of his generation, has died.  You don't get more flexible than Mr. Holm.  Light-hearted comedy, action and adventure, high drama, science fiction - he could do it all.

Whether in Alien, or the token 'bad Sanhedrin composite character' in Jesus of Nazareth, or his turn as an aging Bilbo Baggins, to his Oscar nominated performance in Chariots of Fire, Holm could stick any theatrical landing.  And not just do it, but melt into the parts.  Sometimes it's difficult to believe the same man playing Zerah and staring down Jesus is Ash on the Nostromo.

The thing about Holm was the subtlety of his performance.  With a slight twist of smile or smirk or side glance, he could say more than many actors could with eight pages of dialogue.  He understood the difference between stage and film as well as any.  And yet when over the top scene chewing was called for, he could gorge with the best of them.

For one who could have stayed in the more artsy side of movie making, or even remained on stage, he had a knack for being in the right part at the right time.  If it was high camp or heavy drama, he could deliver the part to any but the harshest critic's satisfaction.  And he was one of those actors gifted to make even the worst movies he appeared in just a little better for him being in them.

Since I grew up seeing him here and there pop up, even when I least expected it, he became part of that 'cultural tapestry' in the world I knew that is now passing.  For that reason, as well as many others, blessings on him and may God receive him into His loving arms, strength and peace to his loved ones, and lamentations for an industry all the emptier for the loss.


  1. He was a great Bilbo. Heck like you said, he was a great everything. May he be enjoying the undying lands with the elves now.

    I always love the song, "Rock n Roll heaven" and think of it at these times. I like to imagine the productions that could be made when the greatest gather together.

    1. Yes. I'd like to think that, simply because he always seemed to pop up in the most unexpected movies and steel almost every scene he was in. Like my sons said, his role in The Fifth Element could have been as dull as imaginable, but he made it great.


Let me know your thoughts