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‘Nobody compares with Utah,’ this ‘Lord of the Rings’ actor said

At FanX, this actor said he keeps returning to Utah because of the people and community here

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Actor John Rhys-Davies, known for playing Gimli in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, jokes around while signing an autograph for Caterina Mazzari and her daughters, Aliyah Frawley, 20, third from right, and Arianna Frawley, 12, right, at the FanX convention at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Emmy award-nominated actor John Rhys-Davies caught up with the Deseret News at the 2023 FanX convention in downtown Salt Lake City.

Rhys-Davies is best-known for his role as Gimli in “The Lord of the Rings.” More recently, he played Sallah in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” The actor has dozens of credits to his name including Viscount Mabrey in “The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement” and was the voice of Lord Hades in “Justice League.”

With the SAG-AFTRA strikes ongoing, actors couldn’t answer questions about past projects, so I asked Rhys-Davies how his visit to Utah has been.

It isn’t the first time Rhys-Davies has come to visit Utah. “I’ve driven through Utah a couple of times,” he told me. “It’s very beautiful. It has more of an austere beauty in some places. And a very rich and fertile beauty.”

While Rhys-Davies said he loves the Great Salt Lake as well as the desert landscape, his favorite part of Utah is the community and people here.

The community here is “wonderful, warm, friendly and kind,” he said. “I come back to Salt Lake because more and more, I like the community, I like the people, I like the warmth and the friendship.”

Utah is also home to a couple restaurants he loves to eat at. “I was in a fabulous restaurant the other night where we got so looked after,” he said to me as he told me about his trip to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. “I love Flemings.”

While there are a lot of other places Rhys-Davies loves to visit, he told me nowhere compares to Utah when it comes to the people and community.

“Nobody compares with Utah,” he said. “There are glorious places and glorious people around the world. But Utah has a special place in my heart.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story referenced the actor as Davies throughout. It has been changed to Rhys-Davies.