Iconic British actor John Rhys-Davies, best known to film audiences for his roles in the blockbuster hits Raiders of the Lost Arc and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was introduced to a new generation of fans in the blockbuster trilogy The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) in the role of Gimli the dwarf. When not busy with these blockbusters, he was a ubiquitous presence in international television and film, where he portrayed numerous military and professorial types, as well as a wide variety of ethnicities. Rhys-Davies also lent his formidable voice to countless animated efforts and video games, making him one of the more well-rounded and revered entertainers from across the pond, but one who was so chameleon-like in all of his projects that he was able to live a comfortable life of relative anonymity off-screen.
Born May 5, 1944 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, Rhys-Davies spent much of his formative years in his mother’s hometown in Ammanford, Wales, while his mechanical engineer father worked in Tanzania. Rhys-Davies and his family later joined his father in Africa, residing there until he was nine, when he was sent back to England for his studies at the Truro School in Cornwall. There, Rhys-Davies saw his first theater shows, and by his teenage years, he was top-billed in school productions of classical plays. After graduating from the University of East Anglia and a brief stint as a schoolteacher, Rhys-Davies decided to devote himself fully to acting, enrolling at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
In 1992, he began lending his voice to animated series, starting with Batman, and video games, including the Wing Commander series. He performed in quite a few animated features such as Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Shark Bait, and Tom and Jerry. In 1995, he revived Sallah again in a short feature filmed for the Indiana Jones ride at the Disneyland resorts. That same year, he enlivened the science fiction series Sliders, as blustery science professor Maximillian Arturo, who traveled through time with three younger companions. Rhys-Davies also penned two episodes of the series. He also appeared as a holographic Leonardo Da Vinci in several episodes of Star-Trek: Voyager. Most recently, John is the narrator of The Truth & Life dramatized audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour celebrity-voiced, fully-dramatized version of the New Testament and has appeared on the television series Psych, as well as in the features Sophie, Return to the Hiding PLace, and Concrete Blondes. John spends his time between The Isle Of Man and New Zealand.