Acclaimed Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies has joined The Planetary Society's Advisory Council as its newest member.
Referencing both his role as the dwarf warrior Gimli in the Lord of the Rings and Isaac Newton's quote about standing on the shoulders of giants,* Rhys-Davies quipped upon accepting the position, "If you wish to see further than most, is it wise to stand on the shoulders of dwarves?"
Rhys-Davies has enjoyed a decades-long career that includes film, television and the stage. He is perhaps best known for his work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, for which he and his fellow cast members were recently awarded the ensemble acting award by the Screen Actors Guild. That honor is the guild's version of a best-picture award. Film audiences also enjoyed his role as Indiana Jones' good friend Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Louis Friedman, Executive Director of the Society, said, "Not only is John a remarkable actor, but he also has an insightful grasp of both the wonders and excitement of planetary exploration. He adds stature, dimension and perspective to our Advisory Council."
Raised in England, Africa and Wales, Rhys-Davies credits his early exposure to classic literature for his decision to pursue acting and writing. After receiving a degree in history and English literature from the University of East Anglia, Rhys-Davies refined his dramatic craft at London's renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He has an abiding interest in astronomy and space exploration and has twice appeared in stage productions that were fundraisers for The Planetary Society: portraying the famed Italian astronomer in an adaptation of Dava Sobel's book Galileo's Daughter and presenting Ray Bradbury's An Evening on Mars with an ensemble cast.
The Planetary Society, the world's largest space-interest group, counts several other members of the entertainment community among its Board of Directors and Advisory Council, including director and producer Steven Spielberg, television host and educator Bill Nye The Science Guy, actor Robert Picardo, and producer Ann Druyan.