Ian Holm 'Lord of the Rings' & 'Chariots of Fire' Star Dead at 88

Sir Ian Holm -- perhaps best known for playing Bilbo in 'The Lord of the Rings' films -- died Friday morning after a long battle with Parkinson's disease ... according to his agent.

The Oscar-nominated actor died peacefully in the hospital with his family by his side, the agent added.

Holm was born in England in 1931, and got into theater acting at a young age, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and graduating in 1950 to the Royal Shakespeare Company ... where he became a star of the stage.

Ian won the Tony Award in 1967 for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in "The Homecoming."

At the same time, his roles were increasing in film and TV, as well ... including appearances in "The Wars of Roses," "Oh! What a Lovely War" and "Mary, Queen of Scots."

His first major movie role came in 1979 when he was cast as the android, Ash, in "Alien." Then, in 1981, he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing the coach in "Chariots of Fire."

Holm's other notable credits over the years included "Brazil," "Hamlet," "The Fifth Element," "Ratatouille" and of course ... playing Bilbo Baggins in 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' films.

Ian also took home the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for the starring role in "King Lear."

Holm was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1989, and in 1998 he was knighted for his services to drama.

He is survived by his wife, artist Sophie de Stempel, whom he married in 2003, and 5 children.

Ian was 88.


Ashley Judd Sues Harvey Weinstein You Damaged My Career Because I Turned You Down!!!

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Ashley Judd's chances of landing a role on "Lord of the Rings" got torpedoed after she turned down Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual demands ... so she says in a new lawsuit.

The actress is suing the disgraced movie mogul for defamation and sexual harassment ... claiming he damaged her career by getting her blacklisted from movie roles -- including Peter Jackson's enormously successful franchise -- as retaliation for turning him down.

In docs, obtained by TMZ, Judd claims Weinstein falsely told Jackson that she was a nightmare who should be avoided at all costs. Jackson's previously said Weinstein told him to blacklist certain female actresses, including Judd.

Ashley was one of the first women to go public about Weinstein's sexual misconduct. She had said she went to see Weinstein for a business meeting and he got sexually aggressive before she fled his hotel room.

In the suit, Judd says in a desperate attempt to escape, she engaged in a mock bargain with him, suggesting she would consider letting him touch her only if she won an Academy Award in one of his films. Weinstein said, "When you get nominated." She responded, "No, when I win," and left the room.

Judd's suing for damages and says she'll donate the money to charity.

Dominic Monaghan Sues You Screwed Up My Yard And You Didn't Have a License to Do It!


Dominic Monaghan had some landscaping done at his place by a guy he thought was qualified to do the job -- but turned out to be far from it ... this according to a new lawsuit.

The "Lord of the Rings" and "Lost" star just filed suit against Bruce De Luis, who Monaghan says presented himself as a contractor last year and agreed to do some work on his L.A. property -- installing steps and a stone patio, as well as general landscaping.

Monaghan claims he shelled out a total of $53,840 for the job, but eventually came to find a bunch of defects and a substandard end product. He says he got a new estimate from a licensed contractor for the repairs, which came out to about $21,000.

When he went back to De Luis -- who Monaghan claims didn't have a contractor's license to begin with -- the actor says the guy told him to get lost ... refusing to reimburse him for the alleged sloppy work.

Monaghan's asking a judge to force De Luis to fork over his original expenses and other damages.

'Lord of the Rings' Gandalf's Steed Shadowfax Euthanized

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Gandalf's glorious steed Shadowfax from the "Lord of the Rings" flicks just took a permanent trip to the big glue shire in the sky -- after the horse got too sick and had to be put down.

Shadowfax's owner Cynthia says the horse -- real name Blanco -- suddenly fell ill at home and was rushed to a horse hospital ... but after a few days, things took a turn for the worst.

The veterinarian asked Cynthia if she wanted to put the horse to sleep ... so she asked Shadowfax for approval -- and the owner says the horse gave her a look that meant yes.

Cynthia gave vets the OK -- and they put her down.


'Game of Thrones' Creator Hobnobbing in the Shire


Prepare for a nerdgasm "Game of Thrones" geeks -- TMZ obtained photo evidence tying the show's creator to that other world of fantasy ... the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy!!

George R.R. Martin took a tour of the Shire movie set from the "Rings" movies this weekend on the North Island of New Zealand ... where, BTW, Winter is not coming (it's Spring down there).

The 65-year-old author and screenwriter looked pretty stoked to hang with normies on the tour -- but still proved he's top banana in the nerd world. Dude, arrived by freaking helicopter!

Gandalf would be proud.

Ian McKellen Gandalf's Protecting My Ass

Ian McKellen has magic underwear ... and yesterday, he showed off his special tighty-whities during a theater performance in New York City.

Of course, the face protecting Ian's pooper is Gandalf from "Lord of the Rings" -- the character played by Ian in the LOTR movies.

Fun Fact -- the undies were actually a gift from "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen.


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