Royal Shakespeare Company boss leads tributes to ‘magnificent talent’ Ian Holm

A Royal Shakespeare Company boss has led the tributes to Sir Ian Holm’s “rare and magnificent talent” following his death at the age of 88.

Artistic director Gregory Doran described him as “one of the RSC greats”.

The acclaimed actor, whose death was announced on Friday, joined the Stratford-based theatre company in 1958.

Tolkien UK premiere London
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

Mr Doran added: “Ian perfectly expressed the cross-fertilisation between classics and new writing that Peter Hall forged in the early days of the RSC.

“He married the technique of a classical Shakespeare actor and the intense naturalism and economy of style of a modern tradition…

“Ian was entirely original. Entirely a one-off.

“He had a simmering cool, a compressed volcanic sense of ferocity, of danger, a pressure cooker actor, a rare and magnificent talent.

“There’s a great spirit gone.”

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Mia Farrow was among those paying tribute to the actor (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Actress Mia Farrow recalled her experience of working with Sir Ian during and RSC production of The Iceman Cometh when he developed stage fright.

“Awful news that Ian Holm has died,” she said, adding: “He was among the giants of the theatre.

“We met while working at the RSC where, mid-performance of Iceman Cometh, terror seized him and he left the stage – for 14 years.”

She added that he was an “unfailingly brilliant” actor.

Victoria & Abdul Premiere – London
Eddie Izzard also paid tribute to Sir Ian (Matt Crossick/PA)

Comedian Eddie Izzard described Sir Ian as a “great”.

He added: “Wonderful actor and it’s so sad to see him go. Farewell, you did great work Sir.”

The National Theatre paid tribute to Sir Ian in a post on their official Twitter page.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premiere – London
(Ian West/PA)

It said: “We’re very sad to hear that Ian Holm has passed away.

“He was an extraordinary actor and we have wonderful memories of his performance at the National Theatre as King Lear.”

Bafta said in a statement that they are “very sorry to hear of the death of Ian Holm”, while comedian Robert Webb described him as a “splendid actor”.

Actor Reece Shearsmith said that Sir Ian had “a lifetime of incredible performances”.

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