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John Rhys-Davies Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (28) | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 5 May 1944Ammanford, Wales, UK
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Acclaimed Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies was born in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Wales, to Mary Margaretta Phyllis (Jones), a nurse, and Rhys Davies, a mechanical engineer and Colonial Officer. He graduated from the University of East Anglia and is probably best known to film audiences for his roles in the blockbuster hits Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Rhys-Davies was introduced to a new generation of fans in the blockbuster trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)) in the role of Gimli the dwarf. He has also had leading roles in Victor Victoria (1982), The Living Daylights (1987) and King Solomon's Mines (1985).

Rhys-Davies, who was raised in England, Africa and Wales, credits his early exposure to classic literature for his decision to pursue acting and writing. he later refined his craft at London's renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. His television credits include James Clavell's Shogun (1980) and Noble House (1988), Great Expectations (1989), War and Remembrance (1988) and Archaeology (1991).

An avid collector of vintage automobiles, Rhys-Davies has a host of theater roles to his credit, including "The Misanthrope", "Hedda Gabler" and most of Shakespeare's works. He divides his time between Los Angeles and the Isle of Man.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: vlivius@hotmail.com

Spouse (1)

Suzanne A. D. Wilkinson (December 1966 - ?) (her death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Distinctive sounding voice

Trivia (28)

John Rhys-Davies spent up to 5 hours a day putting on makeup for the role of Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was discovered early on that he was allergic to the prosthetics, so he could only put them on and work about every third day. The first week, it burned off the skin under his eyes. After filming was completed he was given the appliance used and told to do what he wanted with it. One of the makeup artists claimed they had never seen him move so fast as he threw it into a nearby fire.
His son urged him to accept the role in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
Keeps busy by developing a new hobby with each movie.
Lost the end tip of his left hand middle finger to the knuckle while changing a van engine. During filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), he was fitted with a gel tip for the finger. Rhys-Davies and the crew played a prank on director Peter Jackson by slicing the gel tip nearly in half and inserting prop blood inside. Rhys-Davies approached Jackson to tell him he was hurt and pulled open the tip, letting the blood flow out.
Ironically, he is actually taller than The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) co-stars Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen, yet he plays the Dwarf.
According to an article in the Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), December 14, 2003, the actors who played the members of the Fellowship of the Ring got a tattoo as a memento of their shared experiences, except for Rhys-Davies, who sent his stunt double instead. According to the BellaOnline body art website, the double was martial artist Brett Beattie, who in fact spent more film hours performing as Gimli the Dwarf.
Two of his television movies have been followed up with similarly themed theatrical films starring Eric Bana. He played "The Kingpin" in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989); the film Hulk (2003) starred Bana. He played "King Priam" in Helen of Troy (2003); Eric Bana played "Hector" in Troy (2004).
Before getting the role of Gimli, he auditioned for the role of Denethor. Orlando Bloom, who played Legolas, auditioned for the role of Denethor's other son, Faramir. In Helen of Troy, Rhys-Davies played Priam, and in Troy (2004), Bloom played Paris, Priam's younger son.
April 2004 - Appeared as the special Lord of the Rings guest at the Armageddon Sci-Fi and Comics Convention in Auckland, New Zealand.
September 2004 - Attended the Armaggeddon Pulp Culture Expo Convention in Wellington, New Zealand as a Lord of the Rings guest
Is one of four "Lord of the Rings" stars to star, pre-"Rings," with Harrison Ford. He starred with Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Ford starred with Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) in Witness (1985), with Sean Bean (Boromir) in Patriot Games (1992), and with Miranda Otto (Eowyn) in What Lies Beneath (2000).
Attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London, England, and is an Associate Member.
Although a double needed to be used to make Rhys-Davies look much smaller than his shorter co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom, his height was exactly the right proportions to those of his hobbit co-stars and no body doubles were used in their shots together. The hobbits are supposed to average about 3' 6" (2 feet shorter than the actors who played them) and Gimli, at just over 4 feet tall, is about 2 feet shorter than the real Rhys-Davies.
Graduated from the University of East Anglia.
Played the character of Malone in the TV Series The Untouchables (1993). The character was played by Sean Connery in the movie version The Untouchables (1987). Both actors also played Richard the Lionheart, King of England, in separate versions of Robin Hood: Rhys-Davis in TV's Robin Hood (1984) and Connery (albeit uncredited) in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). Connery and Rhys-Davies appeared together in between these projects in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
Parents: Rhys Davies (a mechanical engineer) and Mary Margaretta Phyllis Jones (a nurse).
Children: Tom, Ben.
While working on the Lord of the Rings films, he lost seventy pounds from all the running around the part involved. When he went back to New Zealand for re-shoots, the makeup artists had to alter his Gimli makeup to better fit his slimmed-down facial features.
Has lived with Lisa Manning since 2004. They have a daughter, Maia. Although he separated from his wife Susie in the early 1980s, he has not divorced her and has no plans to. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1995 and he remains close to her.
A supporter of the British Conservative Party, Rhys-Davies was a radical leftist in the '60s, who tried to heckle a young Tory MP. But the parliamentarian "shot down the first two hecklers in such brilliant fashion that I decided I ought for once to shut up and listen". The MP was Margaret Thatcher.
Is the only actor to star in the James Bond, Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings franchises.
Bears a resemblance to Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti. This has been poked fun at in several of his projects including The Great White Hype and Sliders.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) he sings several lines from Gilbert & Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore". The same song was sung by Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998). Both men have appeared together in the TV series I, Claudius (1976); they have also both featured in the 'Star Trek' and 'Dune' universe: Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Dune (1984); Rhys-Davies in Star Trek: Voyager (1995) and Dune 2000 (1998).
Attending Collectormania 7 at Milton Keynes. [May 2005]
Attended The Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game & Film Convention in Malmõ, Sweden (7-8 May). [May 2005]
Attended The Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game & Film Convention in Gõteborg, Sweden (March 13-14). [March 2004]
As of 2014, has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), with the latter winning in the category.

Personal Quotes (16)

I'd love to spend more time on the Isle of Man. I love the anonymity of putting on a boiler suit and going down to buy parts for the compressor. And Norman Wisdom's a neighbour; I salute him occasionally.
On a 4th Indiana Jones - "Every three or four years the rumours start again, but any new script has got to be approved by Steven, and by George, and by Harrison. Everyone would like to do one, but the script has got to be better than the other three. Every year Paramount must send boxes of goodies to all three, saying 'please please please make us another one.....'"
One of my abiding memories is being halfway up a mountain and watching two men carrying a basket with my clothes up to me, and another two carrying my armour and axe, then a woman carrying my helmet up, and finally another with my big, heavy boots to give that dwarfish trouser-look. Then they put it all on me and the director said 'now run up that hill'. - on shooting Fellowship of The Ring
On why he left Sliders (1995): I like SF. I love intelligent SF. We had the most wonderful series concept with "Sliders", but we did everything that had been done before and we did it every damned episode. We did Species (1995). We did Tremors (1990). We did Twister (1996). We did War of the Worlds (2005). We did The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). It was out of control, just out of control. In the end, "Sliders" wasn't the worst experience I ever had. I was just disappointed. Again, I love SF. I'm a passionate believer in "Sliders". The series could have been great. The public always understood that of "Sliders". The public understood that you could go anywhere in the galaxy. The writers, though, would try to graft a Law & Order (1990) story, or something they had done or seen before, onto "Sliders" and just make the characters work around it.
Every time I meet little boys and girls I do get asked about Sallah. Generally, the line is, "Can we have 10 or 15 of your autographs to trade at school?" Even 10 or 15 of mine are not really enough to get one Harrison Ford. But I enjoy acting. It's not that I begin to think I'm getting better. I now fully know that I've made no improvement whatsoever since I was 20. I can live with it.
The context of being a dangerous actor is in drama. You should feel that a person is capable of doing dangerous things to you or to the other characters. I really don't have much much time for people who imagine that danger is confined to hitting cameramen off stage and getting drunk.
Villians are a lot of fun. My villains have a lot of tongue-in-cheek. They are sometimes conscious of and a little bit gleeful of their villainy. But I actually despise certain forms of villainy. In England, we have a class of villain that's very proud of itself. I've found them totally uncharming. I'm not the slightest bit impressed by how he has robbed a bank, how he has killed someone. I only once played a real villain. He was based on the life of a real man. I really didn't like him. I played him for what he was worth, which was a bullying, cowardly, malevolent, treacherous son-of-a-bitch. Although he had a measure of charm -- the little shit.
Tolkien knew that civilization is worth fighting for. There are times when a generation is challenged and must fight to defend their civilization from annihilation.
Fundamental Islamism is a particularly brutish and unpleasant form of fascism.
You introduce a Republican to another in Hollywood, it's like a meeting between two Christians in Caligula's Rome.
Not to sound like I'm bragging, but I'm a pretty damn good character actor.
We give them actually 55 bucks of entertainment for every five they spend. Then we had George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, who was determined after playing Han Solo to become the most iconic action film star of all time. It was amazing watching him manipulating and developing the character to the point all you have to see is his silhouette and you know who it is. My respect for Harrison has grown over the years as I've watched him grow into the definitive film star of his generation.
You have a much longer career as a character actor.
Many do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a joy it is. From it, we get real democracy. From it, we get the sort of intellectual tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you. I'm burying my career so substantially in these interviews that it's painful. But I think there are some questions that demand honest answers.
There is a demographic catastrophe happening in Europe that nobody wants to talk about, that we daren't bring up because we are so cagey about not offending people racially. And rightly we should be. But there is a cultural thing as well. By 2020, 50 per cent of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilisation. That does have a real resonance with me.
I cannot tell you how many people I have met that have said "Oh, by the way, I studied archaeology at University" or "I became an archaeologist largely because of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)." And I still meet youngsters who are going up to read archaeology and history at University because of Raiders.

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