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John Rhys Davies as Gimli

Gimli John Rhys Davies

Date of Birth: May 5th 1944
Place: Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK
6' 1” (1.85m)
: Degree in English and History
Family: Father Rhys, Mother Phyllis. Married to Deborah and has two sons, Ben and Tom
Official Site:

Gimli Gimli Gimli GimliTreebeardGimli

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John Rhys-Davies spent much of his early life in his mothers birthplace - Ammanford, Wales His mother Phyllis was born in Coopers near Tycroes and hisfather Rhys was a local mechanical engineer from the area. When he was young they moved to Africa and was educated in a private school in England. His childhood has influenced much of his career because he has experienced so many cultures.

He became interested in classic literature at an early age and believes that this interest led to him deciding to be both an actor and a writer. He returned to England at the age of nine and At eleven years he saw his first play “Oedipus Rex” and became interested in the theatre. At the age of thirteen he started acting in plays such as “Troilus” and “Cressida” in Turo School, Cornwall, England, landing the lead role in “Volpone” when sixteen. Rhys-Davies attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich, where he studied English and History and founded the University Dramatic Society. After graduating, he worked as a schoolteacher for a year and starred in the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich.

In 1967 he earned a scholarship to England’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduating in 1969, he worked in theatres throughout Britain before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. All told, over the years John Rhys-Davies has performed in over a hundred plays, including starring roles in Shakespeare’s “Othello”, “The Tempest”, “Hamlet”, “Macbeth”, and “Henry the Fourth”, Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler”, and Moliere’s “The Misanthrope”.

He made his television debut in 1972 at twenty-eight years of age, as Laughing Spam Fritter in the BBC comedy “Budgie”. He made his film debut in 1974 in “The Black Windmill”.

After many television and film appearances, John Rhys-Davies starred as Vasco Rodrigues in NBC’s “Shogun” earning him an Emmy nomination and the attention of Steven Spielberg, who, in 1981 cast him as Sallah, in the blockbuster “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

One of the recent highlights of his long career has been playing the role of the dwarf lord Gimli in the film adaptation of J R R Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings". The role of Gimli involved Rhys-Davies having five hours of make-up. Due to work commitments Rhys-Davies now has a base in Los Angeles and he also spends part of his time on the Isle of Man. He is an avid collector of vintage cars and holds a pilots license.

Random Facts

  • He wanted the part of Barliman Butterbar, so that he would only have to spend a few weeks in New Zealand.. but took the part of Gimli mainly due to his son's urging
  • But my son -- my eldest and beloved son, Benjamin -- said, "Dad, come on. Are you nuts? You can't turn this down."
    I said, "Son, why is that?"
    He said, "Dad, think about it now. Calm down. Think about it. For the last forty-five, fifty years, almost, in every bookshop in the reading world, there has been a two-foot space dedicated to Tolkien. Do you know how many readers that is? Do you know how enormous this is going to be? Come on, Dad."
  • Had to spend 5 hours putting on make-up for Lord of the Rings.
  • Was allergic to his make-up as Gimli. He admits on the Extended DVD that it ate away the skin around his eyes.
  • Spent a lot of time acting on his knees, although he is the tallest actor in the Fellowship
  • Originally auditioned for the role of Denethor
  • Portrayed Leonardo da Vinci twice on Star Trek: Voyager
  • Loves Science Fiction
  • Was the only fellowship member not to get tattooed with the Elvish symbol for 9--he sent his stunt double in his place
  • Also provided the voice of Treebeard
  • "if you are tall, fat and ugly, and you have a loud voice, you're in a seller's market. There aren't that many fat old men around."
  • His son Ben, is an assitant director


The Sangraal (2006)
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2006)
The King Maker (2005)
One Night with the King (2005)
The Game of Their Lives (2005)
Shadows in the Sun (2005)
Chupacabra: Dark Seas (2005) (TV)
12 Days of Terror (2004) (TV)
The Lost Angel (2004)
Catching Kringle (2004) (voice)
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)
"La Femme Musketeer" (2004) (mini) TV Series
Dragon Storm (2004) (TV)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Lords of Everquest (2003) (VG) (voice)
Coronado (2003)
The Medallion (2003)
Vlad (2003)
Helen of Troy (2003) (TV)
Freelancer (2003) (VG) (voice)
The Jungle Book 2 (2003) (voice)
Endangered Species (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Sabretooth (2002)
Scorcher (2002)
Never Say Never Mind: The Swedish Bikini Team (2001) (V)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Forgotten Realms: Baldur's Gate - Dark Alliance (2001) (VG) (voice)
The Gold Cross (2000)
Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists (2000) (voice)
Britannic (2000) (TV)
Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol (1999)
"The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" (1999) TV Series
Au Pair (1999) (TV)
Secret of the Andes (1999) 
Dune 2000 (1998) (VG)
The Protector (1997/I)
"You Wish" (1997) TV Series
Cats Don't Dance (1997) (voice)
Bloodsport 3 (1996)
Echo of Blue (1996)
Marquis de Sade (1996)
Ripper (1996) (VG)
Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh (1996) (TV) (voice) .
Glory Daze (1996)
Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996) (V) (voice)
The Great White Hype (1996)
"Sliders" (1995) TV Series 
Katharina die Große (1995) (TV)
Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (1995) (VG)
Sliders (1995) (TV)
Blood of the Innocent (1994)
Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (1994) (VG) (voice)
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger (1994) (VG)
A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994) (TV) (voice)
Stargate (1994) (uncredited)
"Gargoyles" (1994) TV Series (voice)
Robot in the Family (1994)
The High Crusade (1994) 
Sunset Grill (1993)
The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993)
Cyborg Cop (1993)
"The Untouchables" (1993) TV Series
The Seventh Coin (1993)
Canvas (1992)
The Double 0 Kid (1992)
Kabuto (1992/I)
The Lost World (1992)
Return to the Lost World (1992)
South Beach (1992)
Ring of the Musketeers (1992) (TV)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing (1992) (TV) .
"The Strauss Dynasty" (1991) (mini) TV Series
Under Cover (1991) (TV)
"Great Expectations" (1991) (mini) TV Series
"Pirates of Darkwater" (1991) TV Series (voice)
"Under Cover" (1991) TV Series
"Misteri della giungla nera, I" (1990) (mini) TV Series
Rebel Storm (1990)
Tusks (1990)
Secret Weapon (1990) (TV)
Desperado: Badlands Justice (1989) (TV)
The Gifted One (1989) (TV)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) (TV)
Goddess of Love (1988) (TV)
"War and Remembrance" (1988) (mini) TV Series
Giovane Toscanini, Il (1988)
Higher Ground (1988) (TV)
Waxwork (1988)
"Noble House" (1988) (mini) TV Series
The Little Match Girl (1987/II) (TV)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) (TV)
The Living Daylights (1987) .... General Leonid Pushkin
Firewalker (1986)
In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro (1986)
King Solomon's Mines (1985)
Nairobi Affair (1984) (TV)
No Man's Land (1984) (TV)
Kim (1984) (TV)
Sahara (1983)
Sadat (1983) (TV)
"Reilly: The Ace of Spies" (1983) (mini) TV Series
Best Revenge (1982)
The Island of Adventure (1982)
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1982)
"The Quest" (1982) TV Series
Victor/Victoria (1982)
Ivanhoe (1982) (TV)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Peter and Paul (1981) (TV)
Sphinx (1981)
The Merchant of Venice (1980) (TV)
"Shogun" (1980/II) (mini) TV Series
Shogun (1980/I) (TV)
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979) (as John Rhys Davies)
The Nativity (1978) (TV)
"I, Claudius" (1976) (mini) TV Series
The Naked Civil Servant (1975) (TV)
The Black Windmill (1974) (uncredited)
"Fall of Eagles" (1974) (mini) TV Series
"Budgie" (1970) TV Series
The Incredible Robert Baldick: Never Come Night (1972) (TV)
"Crossroads" (1964) TV Series


All letters should be sent to:

John Rhys-Davies
C/O: Emptage Hallett
24 Poland Street
London WV1 3DD

For more on John Rhys-Davies read this interview with Crescent Blues

Contributed by LOTRUK member  Elril Galia

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