LORD OF THE RINGS star SIR Ian Holm is terrified of going "mad" after experiencing intense stage-fright during the 1970s.

Holm, who played BILBO BAGGINS in the OSCAR-winning trilogy, fled the stage mid-performance in THE ICEMAN COMETH in 1976 - an incident which left him with a residing fear of borderline insanity.

The 73-year-old says, "I went mad or sort of mad. I do fear it. Very definitely.

"Having in a way brushed against it a bit, now, seeing disturbed people in the street, drunks or whatever, frightens me.

"I get quite a strong reaction to walk on the other side of the road.

"I do think that and I still have at the back of mind - and it's wonderful - 'Let me not be mad'."

28/09/2004 14:11