Best known as the son of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, he edited several works by his father that were published after the elder Tolkien's death.
After attending the Oratory School in Oxfordshire, England, he joined the volunteer branch of the Royal Air Force. He later earned an English degree from Oxford University.
An artist as well as an editor, he drew the "Middle-earth" map for the original version of The Lord of the Rings.
The third son of J.R.R. Tolkien, he grew up in Leeds, Oxfordshire, and Oxford, England. He later married Canadian-born editor Baillie Klass Tolkien, with whom he had a son and a daughter (he had fathered another son through a previous marriage).
He was born to J.R.R. and Edith Tolkien.