Bilbo Baggins (b. TA 2890) was a Hobbit of the Shire, and the Head of the Baggins family. Unlike the other Hobbits, he was a bachelor, living a quiet, solitary life at Bag End in Hobbiton – until being coerced by the wizard Gandalf to become involved in the Quest of Erebor (TA 2941), in which he accompanied thirteen Dwarves (led by Thorin Oakenshield) to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug. It was during this quest that Bilbo found the One Ring and won it in a game of Riddles against Gollum. Following the quest, in which Smaug was defeated and Erebor reclaimed for the Dwarves, Bilbo returned to his home in the Shire with a modest share of the dragon’s hoard, and went on living peaceably, though under the scrutiny and suspicion of his fellow Hobbits.
In TA 2980, Bilbo adopted Frodo Baggins, the orphaned son of Drogo and Primula Baggins, who had both drowned in a boating accident. On September 22, their mutual birthday, in the year 3001, Bilbo threw a grand birthday party for him and his heir, known as the Farewell Feast. Following a short speech, Bilbo vanished, leaving everything at Bag End (including Bag End itself) to Frodo – even the One Ring.
Bilbo went to Imladris, where he remained for twenty years among the Elves of Rivendell, studying Elven-lore, and writing his own poetry and walking-songs. He also wrote an account of the Quest of Erebor in the Red Book of Westmarch, which would later be added to by Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee following the War of the Ring and their journey into Mordor.
In 3021, Bilbo went over the Sea with the Last Riding of the Keepers of the Rings. At 131 years and 8 days of age at the time of his departure from Middle-earth, Bilbo became the longest-lived Hobbit in history (due, in part, to the Ring’s influence in the many years in which he possessed it).
Bilbo Baggins was played by Paul Daneman in the 1968 BBC Radio serialisation of The Hobbit
In a performance released on Argo Records in 1974, he was portrayed by Nicol Williamson
He was voiced by Orson Bean in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit; and by Norman Bird in Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings
Ian Holm portrayed Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings; he will also portray an older Bilbo in the Jackson’s upcoming adaptations of The Hobbit, in which Martin Freeman will portray a younger Bilbo