British Actor Donald Sinden Dies at 90

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Roger Moore, who worked with him on a movie, lauded the Shakespearean actor as 'wonderful'

British theater, film and TV actor Donald Sinden has died at age 90 after suffering from prostate cancer, his son told the BBC on Friday.‎

He said he died of the disease at his home in Kent, England. In the U.K., Sinden was best known as a Shakespearean actor, but he appeared in more than 70 film and TV productions.

He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979 on the Queen's honor list and  knighted in 1997 for his services to drama. He was therefore typically addressed as Sir Donald Sinden in Britain. 

Sinden appeared as Grace Kelly’s husband in John Ford’s Mogambo (1953) and also appeared in such films as The Beachcomber (1954), Above Us the Waves (1955), The Black Tent (1956) and Fred Zinnemann’s The Day of the Jackal (1973). He made his film debut in 1953 in The Cruel Sea, about the war between the Royal Navy and Germany's submarines. 

His work in British TV shows, such as comedies Never the Twain and Doctor in the House, and BBC legal drama Judge John Deed, made him known to a broader audience. In Two's Company, he starred opposite legendary Broadway star Elaine Stritch. She played a U.S. writer who bickers with her butler, portrayed by Sinden.

More recently, Sinden hosted TV documentary show Great West End Theaters, directed by his son, on BSkyB's Sky Arts channel.

His son, actor, producer and director Marc Sinden, who appeared in season 6 of Magnum, P.I., told the BBC that his career was "probably unique in our business," adding:‎ "He worked out that he only had a total of five weeks' unemployment between 1942 and 2008."

Sinden leaves behind his son, four grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Sinden attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in such leading roles as King Lear.

BAFTA tweeted about Sinden's death, saying, "we're greatly saddened." 

Former James Bond star Roger Moore, who worked with the veteran on British-German comedy That Lucky Touch (1975), also commented on Twitter. "Sad to wake up to news another mate has left us, Sir Donald Sinden," Moore tweeted. "We worked on 'That Lucky Touch'. A wonderful actor."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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