John Rhys-Davies achieved a lot during his time in entertainment, playing one unforgettable role after another. Aside from perhaps Sallah in the Indiana Jones franchise, his most famous cinematic role came as the short-tempered but noble dwarf Gimli in director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. On the other hand, many seem to forget that before he wielded the ax against the forces of Sauron, Rhys-Davies joined the Marvel world as Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk. in 1989 through “Test of the Incredible Hulk”. His appearance in the made-for-television film makes him the first living Kingpin in history.
While Rhys-Davies is far from the most famous take on the Kingpin from any storytelling medium, he is no less a key part of the character’s live-action legacy. Of course, when it comes to Rhys-Davies’ legacy on the silver screen, Gimli beats the Kingpin with ease, though the actor didn’t single-handedly bring the character to life. Brett Beatty, who is 4ft 10in, did a great job of bringing the Fellowship member to life. From horseback riding to action scenes, he did it all under Gimli’s prosthetics and got along well with the rest of the cast, but never received the same level of recognition as Rhys-Davies (via Polygon).
John Rhys-Davies’ career is long and full of incredible roles, and Gimli’s co-starring is one of his most iconic. His performance as the Kingpin in Trial of the Incredible Hulk is far from legendary, but at least he can say he joined the Marvel Universe before it was cool.