John Rhys-Davies, 2014
5 May 1944 |
|Spouse(s)||Suzanne Wilkinson (1966–2010) (2 children)|
|Partner(s)||Lisa Manning (2004–present)|
John Rhys-Davies (born 5 May 1944) is a Welsh actor and voice actor best known for his portrayal of Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the charismatic Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films. He also played Agent Michael Malone in the 1993 remake of the 1950s television series The Untouchables, Pilot Vasco Rodrigues in the mini-series Shōgun, Professor Maximillian Arturo in Sliders, King Richard I in Robin of Sherwood, General Leonid Pushkin in the James Bond film The Living Daylights, and Macro in I, Claudius. Additionally, he provided the voices of Cassim in Disney's Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Man Ray in SpongeBob SquarePants, Hades in Justice League and Tobias in the computer game Freelancer.
John Rhys-Davies was born on 5 May 1944 in Salisbury, England, and was raised in Ammanford, Wales. His mother, Mary Margaretta Phyllis Jones, was a nurse, and his father, Rhys Davies, was a mechanical engineer and Colonial Officer. In the early 1950s his family lived for several years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, while his father was serving there as a colonial officer. He was educated at Truro School and at the University of East Anglia where he was one of the first 87 students admitted, and where he founded the Dramatic Society. After teaching at Watton County Secondary School in Norfolk he won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Although appearing sporadically on UK television in the early 1970s (for instance, as gangster Laughing Spam Fritter opposite Adam Faith in Budgie), Rhys-Davies first gained widespread popularity for his performance as Praetorian officer Naevius Sutorius Macro in I, Claudius. He then began to appear more frequently, and not just in the UK, with roles as a Portuguese navigator Rodrigues in the 1980 television miniseries Shogun, based on the novel by James Clavell, and in the Indiana Jones movies. In 1989, Rhys-Davies also starred in another James Clavell adaption, Noble House, set in Hong Kong, in which he plays Ian Dunross' corporate enemy, Quillian Gornt. He has since appeared in numerous television shows and miniseries, including Agent Michael Malone in the 1993 remake of the 1950s television series The Untouchables as well as a leading role in the television series Sliders as Professor Maximillian Arturo from 1995 to 1997. He also appeared in Reilly, Ace of Spies in 1983, made several appearances on Star Trek: Voyager as a holodeck version of Leonardo da Vinci, starred as an ally of James Bond in The Living Daylights and appeared in the movie One Night with the King. Davies has played the character Porthos in two separate projects; a two-part episode of The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne and the Hallmark Channel movie La Femme Musketeer. He appears in the full motion video cut scenes of computer games including Ripper (as Vigo Haman) (1996), Dune 2000 (as Noree Moneo) (1998), and the Wing Commander series (as James Taggart, doubling as the voice of Thrakhath nar Kiranka in the third game of the series). He has also appeared in a number of Sci Fi Channel original movies.
In 2004, he starred in The Privileged Planet, a documentary that makes the case for intelligent design. In 2013 he appeared in the family history programme Coming Home, in which he discovered information about his grandfather's life in the Carmarthenshire coal mines.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
He is also known for his popular portrayal of the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The cinematography of the films was aided in that Rhys-Davies is tall – 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), compared to the actors playing hobbits at around 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m). Therefore, although his character was supposed to be short, he was properly in proportion compared to the hobbit actors. Had he been of more similar height, shots of the entire fellowship would have required three camera passes rather than two. Rhys-Davies is the only one of the nine Fellowship of the Ring actors who did not receive a tattoo of the word "nine" written in the Tengwar script; his stunt double, Brett Beattie, got the tattoo instead as Rhys-Davies was disinclined to get one himself. The other members of the cast—Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, and Elijah Wood—got the same tattoo.
Rhys-Davies suffered severe allergic reactions to the prosthetics used during filming, and his eyes sometimes swelled shut. When an interviewer asked him whether he would consider returning to the role for the film version of The Hobbit, he said, "I've already been asked and to be honest with you, I wouldn't. I have already completely ruled it out. There's a sentimental part of me that would love to be involved again. Really I am not sure my face can take that sort of punishment any more." He added that this time around "They've got a different set of problems... because you've got 13 dwarves, a whole band of them... You're trying to represent a whole race... You're trying to do for dwarves what 'The Lord of the Rings' did for hobbits."
In addition to voicing the Ent Treebeard in Lord of the Rings, Rhys-Davies has also lent his distinctive deep voice to many video games and animated television series, including the role of Hades in Justice League and numerous times in Gargoyles (1994–1996), as the character Macbeth. He also lent his vocal talents to the games Freelancer (as Winston Tobias) and Lords of Everquest (both in 2003) and the game Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness, which was released with his narration on a CD-ROM version in 1995. He also had a voice role on Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance as the character Jherek, and narrated a documentary called The Glory of Macedonia.
John Rhys-Davies' voice can be heard on the 2009 documentary Reclaiming The Blade. In the narration, Rhys-Davies explores swords, historical European swordsmanship and fight choreography on film, a topic very familiar to him from his experiences in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where his character Gimli wielded an axe in many scenes.
In 2004, he was the unknowing subject of an internet prank that spread false rumours in several mainstream media sources that he was scheduled to play the role of General Grievous in Star Wars Episode III.
Rhys-Davies is the narrator of The Truth & Life Dramatized audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatised audiobook version of the New Testament which uses the RSV-CE translation. In 2011, he presented KJB: The Book That Changed The World, which features him reading diverse snippets from the King James Version.
Rhys-Davies holds politically conservative views. As a university student in the 1960s, he had been a radical leftist, but changed his views when he went to heckle a young local member of parliament, Margaret Thatcher. Rhys-Davies says that "she shot down the first two hecklers in such brilliant fashion that I decided I ought for once to shut up and listen".
Views on Islam
In 2004, Rhys-Davies stated the following in a controversial interview with a Welsh news website about the Muslim population, stating:
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.
His comments were endorsed by the British National Party. Rhys-Davies commented that the BNP "could do no harm" describing it as peaceful yet stating it was "distressing to find yourself on a BNP leaflet". He was also endorsed in a National Vanguard editorial. In an interview with the conservative journal National Review, he clarified that he is opposed to Islamic extremism precisely because he feels that it violates the "Western values" of equality, democracy, tolerance, and the abolition of slavery.
|1974||The Black Windmill||Fake Military Policeman||Uncredited|
|1975||The Naked Civil Servant||Barndoor|
|1979||A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square||Solicitor|
|1981||Raiders of the Lost Ark||Sallah|
|1982||Ivanhoe||Front de Bœuf|
|1982||Victor Victoria||Andre Cassell|
|1982||The Island of Adventure||Smith|
|1983||Sadat||Gamal Abdel Nasser|
|1984||Sword of the Valiant||Baron Fortinbras|
|1985||King Solomon's Mines||Dogati|
|1987||The Living Daylights||General Leonid Pushkin|
|1989||Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade||Sallah|
|1989||Great Expectations||Joe Gargery|
|1991||The Unnamable Returns|
|1992||The Double 0 Kid||Rudi Von Kseenbaum|
|1992||The Lost World||Challenger|
|1992||Return to the Lost World||Challenger|
|1993||The Seventh Coin||Captain Galil|
|1993||The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter||Professor Warren|
|1994||The High Crusade||Bruder Parvus|
|1994||Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness PC, DOS||Narrator||Voice|
|1994||Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger PC, DOS||Gen. James 'Paladin' Taggart / Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka||Voice|
|1996||The Great White Hype||Johnny Windsor|
|1996||Aladdin and the King of Thieves||Cassim||Voice|
|1996||Marquis de Sade||Inspector Marais|
|1996||Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom PC||Senator James 'Paladin' Taggart||Voice|
|1997||Cats Don't Dance||Woolie Mammoth||Voice|
|1997||Bloodsport III||Jacques Duvalier|
|1999||Secret of the Andes||Father Claver|
|1999||Dune 2000||Noree Moneo|
|1999||Au Pair||Nigel Kent|
|2001||The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||Gimli||Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|2001||Never Say Never Mind: The Swedish Bikini Team||Hakim|
|2002||The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers||Gimli / Voice of Treebeard||Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|2002||Endangered Species||Police Lt. Wyznowski|
|2002||Scorcher||Dr. Matthew Sallin|
|2003||Coronado||Presidente Hugo Luis Ramos|
|2003||Freelancer||Richard Winston Tobias||Voice|
|2003||The Jungle Book 2||Ranjan's father||Voice|
|2003||The Medallion||Cmdr. Hammerstock-Smythe|
|2003||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||Gimli / Voice of Treebeard||Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
|2004||12 Days of Terror||Captain|
|2004||The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement||Viscount Mabrey|
|2004||La Femme Musketeer||Porthos|
|2004||The Lost Angel||Father Kevin|
|2004||The Privileged Planet||Narrator|
|2004||Dragon Storm||King Fastrad|
|2005||The Game of Their Lives||Bill Jeffrey|
|2005||Chupacabra: Dark Seas||Captain Randolph|
|2005||The King Maker||Phillippe|
|2006||One Night with the King||Mordecai|
|2006||The Legend of Sasquatch||Ranger Steve||Voice|
|2007||In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale||Merick|
|2007||The Ferryman||The Greek|
|2008||Anaconda 3: Offspring||J.D. Murdoch|
|2008||Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles||Sangimel|
|2009||Prisoners of the Sun||Prof. Hayden Masterton|
|2009||Anacondas: Trail of Blood||J.D. Murdoch|
|2009||Reclaiming the Blade||Narrator|
|2009||31 North 62 East||John Hammond|
|2010||Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf||Elliot Carbon|
|2011||KJB: The Book That Changed the World|
|2011||Sophie and Sheba|
|2013||100 Degrees Below Zero||Ralph Dillard|
|2014||Apocalypse Pompeii||Colonel Dillard|
|2014||Saul: The Journey to Damascus||Caiphas|
|2015||Beyond the Mask||Charles Kemp|
|Year||Television show||Role||Episodes / Notes|
|1974||Fall of Eagles||Zinoviev|
|1975||The Sweeney||Ron Brett||Poppy (Season 2, episode 8)|
|1976||I, Claudius||Macro||Season 1, episodes 8 and 9|
|1977||1990||Ivor Griffith||Season 1, episode 3|
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1982||CHiPs||Nakura||Season 5, episode 27|
|1983||Reilly, Ace of Spies||Tanyatos|
|1984||Robin of Sherwood||King Richard||Series 1, episode 6 "The King's Fool"|
|1987||Marjorie and the Preacher Man||Seymour||Television Drama|
|1988||Noble House||Quillan Gornt||Miniseries|
|1988||War and Remembrance||Sammy Mutterperl||Miniseries|
|1989||The Trial of the Incredible Hulk||Wilson Fisk||Made-for-TV film|
|1991||The Mystery of the Black Jungle||O'Connor||Miniseries|
|1991||Tales from the Crypt||Duval||Season 3, episode 6|
|1992||Batman: The Animated Series||'Baron' Waclaw Jozek||Season 1, episode 25|
|1992||Archaeology||Himself||Voyages of the Vikings|
|1993–1994||The Untouchables||Agent Michael Malone||15 episodes|
|1994||A Flintstones Christmas Carol||Charles Brickens (voice)||Television special|
|1995–1997||Sliders||Prof. Maximilian Arturo||40 episodes|
|1995||Fantastic Four||Thor||2 episodes; Season 2, episodes 6 and 8|
|1996||The Incredible Hulk||Thor||Season 1, episode 9|
|1996||Gargoyles||Macbeth||Season 1, episode 1|
|1996||Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh||Narrator||Halloween television special|
|1996||Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm||Asgarth|
|1997||You Wish||Madman Mustapha||3 episodes|
|1997||Star Trek: Voyager||Leonardo da Vinci||2 episodes|
|2002||Justice League||Hades||Season 1, episodes 8 and 9|
|2002||Fillmore!||Lenny||Season 1, episode 8|
|2003||Helen of Troy||King Priam||Miniseries|
|2005||Revelations (Omnium Finis Imminet)||Professor Jonah Lampley||Miniseries|
|2009||Dark Days in Monkey City||Narrator||3 episodes|
|2009||Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire||Grimshank||3 episodes|
|2010||Legend of the Seeker||Horace||Season 2, episode 17|
|2012||Psych||Museum Curator||Season 6, episode 10|
|2014||Let The Season In||Narrator||Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert Special (filmed 2013)|
|2014||Once Upon a Time||Grand Pabbie||Voice / Season 4, Episodes 1, 6, 7|
|2016||The Shannara Chronicles||Eventine Elessedil||Regular|
- Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince
- Although some sources (including Rhys-Davies himself on several early occasions) state that Rhys-Davies was born in Ammanford, Wales, official birth records and Rhys-Davies himself confirm that he was born in Salisbury.
- "Lord of the Rings star: I'm settled with a new family but I'll never leave my ailing wife | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies: 'I'm very proud of being a Welshman'". Wales Online. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- "John Rhys-Davies Biography (1944–)". filmreference.com. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "John Rhys-Davis". nTZ. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "The Privileged Planet: John Rhys-Davies, Lad Allen: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "BBC One – Coming Home, Series 8, John Rhys-Davies". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "John Rhys-Davies celebrity". Mooviees. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- Fellowship of the Rings Extended Edition DVD
- "You think I'm going to be tattooed by some drunken Maori with a dirty needle? Think again. If I had a bloody tattoo for every film I'd done, I'd be a walking billboard". Metro.co.uk.
- "John Rhys-Davies Signs on as Narrator". Reclaiming the Blade. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "John Rhys-Davies in Star Wars Episode III: A Grievous Media Hoax". The Rubber Chicken. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- [dead link]
- Ballinger, Lucy (18 January 2004). "Welsh star in race row". Wales on Sunday. Retrieved 27 May 2009.[dead link]
- BNP, Gimli battles for the West (Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine)[dead link]
- BNP, "Stand, men of the West" (Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine), BNP Leaflet at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 September 2007)[dead link]
- Camberly, Neil (7 January 2004). "The Lord of the Rings' GIMLI speaks up for the West". National Vanguard. Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2009.[dead link]
- Leigh, Andrew. "No Sean Penn". National Review. Retrieved 27 May 2009.[dead link]
- Beyond the Mask - Official Website, January 2015.
- "The King's Fool". BFI Film Forever. British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Marjorie and the Preacherman (1987) | BFI". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Rhys-Davies.|
- John Rhys-Davies at the Internet Movie Database
- Article about controversial statements 18 January 2004
- Andrew Leigh, "No Sean Penn". National Review. 5 March 2004.