John Rhys-Davies is one of modern cinema’s most recognizable character actors, best known as Gimli in LORD OF THE RINGS and as Harrison Ford’s sidekick in two INDIANA JONES films. John has appeared in over 150 television shows and films, and 90 (give or take) Stage productions.
John grew up in England, Wales, and East Africa. Upon graduating the University of East Anglia, John worked briefly as a schoolteacher before joining London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He spent the next eleven years as a stage actor, including several seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
John was 28 when he made his first regular television series appearance in 1972. In 1975, he joined Patrick Stewart, Derek Jacobi, and John Hurt for the BBC miniseries I, CLAUDIUS. He subsequently starred as Vasco Rodrigues in the miniseries SHOGUN, starring Richard Chamberlain. which told the adventures of an English sailor stranded in Japan during the early 17th century.
In 1999, John was offered the role of the warrior dwarf Gimli in Peter Jackson’s three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. As Gimli, John is utterly unrecognizable: The part required that he wear heavy facial prosthetics and perform on his knees to portray the 4’2″ dwarf (the actor, himself, was then over six feet tall).
John returned to US television in LADY MUSKETEER (2004) opposite Gerard Depardieu. Shot in Croatia in 2002, this film nearly ended his life when a 55′ long and 12′ high wall and roof blew over onto him, breaking his back in five places. He is alas, no longer over 6’ tall!
John has also branched out to other media, starring in video games such as WING COMMANDER III: HEART OF THE TIGER, DUNE 2000, BALDUR’S GATE: DARK ALLIANCE, and QUEST FOR GLORY IV. He is working on Chris Roberts’ (Wing Commander) new game SQUADRON 42.
John recorded voice work for the animated films ALADDIN AND THE KING OF THIEVES (1996) and CATS DON’T DANCE (1997). The actor has done additional voice work for ANIMANIACS, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, GARGOYLES, PINKY AND THE BRAIN, THE FANTASTIC FOUR, and THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
John has two grown up sons, Ben and Tom from his first marriage to his late wife Suzanne. He is now married to former journalist Lisa Manning with whom he has an 11-year-old horse-mad daughter Maia. He resides in both New Zealand and the Isle of Man, and in airport lounges around the world.