John Rhys-Davies (born 5 May 1944) is a Welsh actor and voice actor known for his portrayal of Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the charismatic 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, Macbeth in Gargoyles, Man Ray in SpongeBob SquarePants, Hades in Justice League and Tobias in the computer game Freelancer.
Rhys-Davies at the 2014 Phoenix Comicon
5 May 1944|
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation||Actor, voice artist, producer|
(m. 1966; d. 2010)
|Partner(s)||Lisa Manning (2004–present)|
John Rhys-Davies was born on 5 May 1944 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and was brought up there, in Tanganyika and in Ammanford, Wales. His mother, 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 Kongwa, Dar es Salaam, Moshi and Mwanza, Tanzania, while his father was serving there as a colonial police officer. He was educated at Truro School and at the University of East Anglia where he was one of the first 105 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.
He appeared sporadically on UK television in the early 1970s including his role as the gangster Laughing Spam Fritter opposite Adam Faith in Budgie. Later he played 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 films. 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 film 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 film 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).
In 2004, he narrated 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.
In 2015 he had a role in the single player campaign of the PC game Star Citizen alongside Mark Hamill and Gary Oldman. The work consists of full body Motion capture, including facial expressions and his voice and was recorded primarily at the Imaginarium studios in the UK.
The Lord of the Rings trilogyEdit
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 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 lent his distinctive 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 Richard 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 Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition translation. In 2011, he presented KJB: The Book That Changed The World, which features him reading diverse snippets from the King James Version.
John Rhys-Davies’ voice work also includes voice-over work with Breathe Bible.
A resident of the Isle of Man since 1988, John Rhys-Davies provides the introductory voice-over to the Island's Castle Rushen, one of the best preserved medieval fortresses in Britain. In 2018 he leant his voice to the Isle of Man's tourism commercial.
Rhys-Davies married Suzanne Wilkinson in December 1966. They had two sons. Although they separated in 1985, they remained married until her death in 2010 from Alzheimer's disease. He remained close to her and took care of her until she died.
In 2004, he began living with Lisa Manning. They have a daughter.
Rhys-Davies is not a member of any political party. 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".
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 percent 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 was so insignificant in numbers that it "could do no harm" 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||Fall of Eagles||Zinoviev|
|1975||The Sweeney||Ron Brett||Episode: "Poppy" (Season 2, episode 8)|
|1976||I, Claudius||Macro||Episodes 8 and 9|
|1977||1990||Ivor Griffith||Episode: "William and the Wonderful Present"|
|1980||BBC Television Shakespeare||Salerio||The Merchant of Venice|
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"|
|1984||Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Lord Bromfield||Season 2, episode 8 "Affair at Bromfield Hall"|
|1987||Marjorie and the Preacher Man||Seymour||Television Drama|
|1988 - 1994||Murder, She Wrote||Harry Mordecai / Harry Waverly / Lancaster||3 episodes (he played different characters)|
|1988||Noble House||Quillan Gornt||Miniseries|
|1988||War and Remembrance||Sammy Mutterperl||Miniseries|
|1989||The Trial of the Incredible Hulk||Wilson Fisk||TV film|
|1991||Great Expectations||Joe Gargery|
|1991||The Mystery of the Black Jungle||O'Connor||Miniseries|
|1991||Tales from the Crypt||Duval||Episode: "Dead Wait"|
|1992||Batman: The Animated Series||'Baron' Waclaw Jozek (voice)||Episode: "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy"|
|1992||Archaeology||Himself||Voyages of the Vikings|
|1992||Ring of the Musketeers||Maurice Treville||TV movie|
|1992-1993||The Legend of Prince Valiant||King Hugo, King Donovan (voice)||8 episodes|
|1993–1994||The Untouchables||Agent Michael Malone||15 episodes|
|1994||A Flintstones Christmas Carol||Charles Brickens (voice)||Television special|
|1995–1997||Sliders||Prof. Maximillian Arturo||40 episodes|
|1995||Fantastic Four||Thor (voice)||2 episodes; Season 2, episodes 6 and 8|
|1996||The Incredible Hulk||Episode: "Mortal Bounds"|
|1995-1996||Gargoyles||Macbeth (voice)||13 episodes|
|1996||Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh||Narrator||Halloween television special|
|1996||Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm||Asgarth (voice)||Episode: "Overthrown"|
|1997||You Wish||Madman Mustapha||3 episodes|
|1997||Star Trek: Voyager||Leonardo da Vinci||2 episodes|
|1999||Au Pair||Nigel Kent||Television film|
|2002||Justice League||Hades (voice)||Episode: "Paradise Lost" Parts 1 & 2|
|2002||The Zeta Project||Edgar Mandragora (voice)||Episode: "Ro's Gift"|
|2000-2002||SpongeBob SquarePants||Man Ray (voice)||2 Episodes|
|2002||Fillmore!||Lenny (voice)||Episode: "Ingrid Third, Public Enemy #1"|
|2003||Helen of Troy||King Priam||Miniseries|
|2004||Dragon Storm||King Fastrad||Television film|
|2005||Revelations (Omnium Finis Imminet)||Professor Jonah Lampley||Miniseries|
|2006||Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!||Captain Proteus (voice)||Episode: "Demon of the Deep"|
|2008||Anaconda 3: Offspring||J.D. Murdoch||Television film|
|2008||Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles||Sangimel||Television film|
|2009||Dark Days in Monkey City||Narrator||3 episodes|
|2009||Anacondas: Trail of Blood||J.D. Murdoch||Television film|
|2009||Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire||Grimshank||3 episodes|
|2010||Legend of the Seeker||Horace||Episode: "Vengeance"|
|2010||Three Wise Women||Archangel Green|
|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|
|2015||The Adventures of Puss in Boots||Goodsword (voice)||Episode: "Sword"|
|2016||The Shannara Chronicles||Eventine Elessedil||Regular|
|2016||The Lion Guard||King Sokwe (voice)||Season 1, episode 22 "The Lost Gorillas"|
|1993||Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness||Narrator||Voice|
|1994||Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger||Gen. James 'Paladin' Taggart
/ Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka
|1996||Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom||Senator James 'Paladin' Taggart||Voice|
|1998||Dune 2000||Noree Moneo||Actor|
|2003||Freelancer||Richard Winston Tobias||Voice|
- Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince
- The Trials of Saint Patrick
- The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty: In the Reign of Terror
- Affabel: Window of Eternity
- "Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies: 'I'm very proud of being a Welshman'". Wales Online. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
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- "BBC One – Coming Home, Series 8, John Rhys-Davies". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Exclu : de nouvelles photos de la saison 2 de "Metal Hurlant" [PHOTOS]". AlloCiné. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Star Citizen features Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, Mark Hamill". PC Gamer. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Mackintosh, +Kieran. "Video Shows How Star Citizen intends to Use Motion Capture". Load the Game. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "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 30 June 2014.
- "John Rhys-Davies in Star Wars Episode III: A Grievous Media Hoax". The Rubber Chicken. Archived from the original on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- John Rhys-Davies, Narrator BreatheBible.com Retrieved September 19, 2017
- "Van Canto: Audio Samples Of Entire 'Voices Of Fire' Album". Blabbermouth.net. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
-  Archived 23 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
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- BNP, Gimli battles for the West Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. ()
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- Leigh, Andrew. "No Sean Penn". National Review. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- 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 30 June 2014.
- "YouTube". www.youtube.com.
- "Holdings: The Voyages of the Vikings - York University Libraries". www.library.yorku.ca.
- "IMDB". www.imdb.com.