John Rhys-Davies Biography
John Rhys-Davies is a Welsh actor who has been a staple of film and television for decades. Born in Salisbury in 1944, he spent much of his early life in Tanganyika (today Tanzania) due to his father’s work as a colonial police officer.
He was educated in Cornwall and at the University of East Anglia, where he co-founded the university’s drama club. After teaching for a short time, he went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
John Rhys-Davies made his television debut in the 1970s, appearing in a variety of shows, including his role as the notorious Laughing Spam Fritter opposite Adam Faith in Budgie. He made his movie debut in 1973 in Penny Gold and had his big breakthrough as Sallah in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
He reprised the role in two more Indiana Jones films and went on to play Marvel Comics character Kingpin in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, as well as Quillan Gornt in Noble House. He has also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager, Reilly, Ace of Spies. He has also played memorable characters such as Michael Malone in The Untouchables, Vasco Rodrigues in Shōgun, Professor Maximillian Arturo in Sliders, King Richard I in Robin of Sherwood, and General Leonid Pushkin in The Living Daylights.
He has also lent his voice to numerous animated projects, including Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings, Cassim in Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Ranjan’s father in The Jungle Book 2, Macbeth in Gargoyles, Man Ray in SpongeBob SquarePants, Hades in Justice League, and Tobias in Freelancer, Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists, and Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map among others.
Most recently Rhys-Davies is known for his work in The Lord of The Rings trilogy, which he portrayed the dwarf Gimli. QUite amusing that he is over 6ft tall, but thanks to the cinematography he appears as a Hobbit. While filming the trilogy, he suffered severe reactions to the prosthetics used during filming.
In his personal life, Rhys-Davies was married to Suzanne Wilkinson from 1966 until her death from Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. The couple had two sons and remained friends throughout their separation. He is currently in a relationship with Lisa Manning and they have a daughter together. He splits his time between homes in Waikato, New Zealand and on the Isle of Man.