In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale : About he Cast - John Rhys-Davies

JOHN RHYS-DAVIES (Merick) is one of the most recognizable actors in the Sci Fi and fantasy realm, lending his charisma and gravitas to some of the genre’s best-loved franchises. Though he may be best known for his pitch-perfect supporting turn as Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, more recently Rhys-Davies created another iconic character, Gimli the dwarf, in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In between, Rhys-Davies anchored the cult TV favorite “Sliders” for forty episodes as Professor Maximilian Arturo. He is starring in three upcoming features—Prisoners of the Sun, Kiss Me Deadly, and Medium Raw—and the telefilms “Anaconda 3: The Offspring” and “Fire and Ice.”

Born in 1944, the Welsh actor was raised in England, Africa and Wales. He credits his early exposure to classic literature for his decision to pursue acting. After refining his craft at London's renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Rhys-Davies began a successful early career on stage and television. Notable roles included supporting parts in the classic miniseries “I, Claudius,” starring Derek Jacobi, and the British series “The Naked Civil Servant,” starring John Hurt.

Rhys-Davies got a big break playing wily Portuguese sea captain Vasco Rodrigues in the classic NBC miniseries, “Shogun,” which earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special. When it aired, the miniseries captured an amazing 51% of the total viewing audience, a feat that is unheard of today.
Fresh from this success, Rhys-Davies was cast in Steven Spielberg’s landmark adventure film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Variety called Rhys-Davies portrayal of Indiana Jones’ jolly Egyptian sidekick “delightfully etched.” Over the next two decades, his film credits include roles in Victor, Victoria, Best Revenge, Sahara, King Solomon’s Mines, Firewalker, The Living Daylights, and The Young Toscanini. He would reprise his role as Sallah in Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) before appearing in The Great White Hype and Marquis de Sade.

Playing the fierce dwarf warrior Gimli in all three of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, Rhys-Davies was a member of the ensemble that won Screen Actors Guild, National Board of Review and People’s Choice awards for the cast of a motion picture.
Rhys-Davies’ other film credits include Scorcher, Endangered Species, Highbinders, The Game of Their Lives and Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement.

On television, Rhys-Davies appeared in the movies of the week “Peter and Paul,” “Sadat,” “Nairobi Affair,” “The Little Match Girl,” and “Under Cover.” His mini-series credits include “War and Remembrance,” “Great Expectations,” “Helen of Troy,” “Revelations” and “La Femme Musketeer.” He was a series regular on “The Untouchables” and then “Sliders,” a syndicated Sci Fi staple that ran from 1995 to 2000. His character, the cranky but good-hearted Maximilian Arturo, was considered the backbone of the series in its best years.
The actor has made numerous guest appearances on television shows such as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek Voyager.” He lent his distinctive deep Welsh voice to a number of animated series and video games, including the “Wing Commander” series, “Lords of Everquest” and several Lord of the Rings-inspired games.
Rhys-Davies currently divides his time between residences in Los Angeles and the Isle of Man.