British Actress Dinah Sheridan Dies at 92

Dinah Sheridan
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She starred in the good-natured classics "The Railway Children" and "Genevieve" and in the 1980s sitcom "Don't Wait Up."

Dinah Sheridan, who starred in the quintessential British classics The Railway Children and Genevieve, died Sunday at her home in Northwood, Middlesex, England. She was 92.

In The Railway Children (1970), the elegant Sheridan starred as Mrs. Waterbury, a mother who is forced to move with her three children from the suburbs to a home near a train station after her husband is falsely imprisoned. The film is based on the classic children's novel by E. Nesbit.

In the light-hearted Genevieve (1953), Sheridan played the wife of one of two friends (John Gregson and Kenneth More) who face off in an increasingly competitive antique car rally. The comedy won the BAFTA for best British film of the year,

Sheridan also starred as Angela Latimer in the British sitcom Don't Wait Up, which ran six seasons until 1990. In 1983, she appeared in The Five Doctors, a feature-length episode of Doctor Who.

She was born Dinah Mec in London on Sept. 17, 1920, to a Russian father and German mother who were photographers to the royal family. The gray-eyed blonde made her stage debut at age 12 and later toured as Wendy in Peter Pan opposite Charles Laughton as Captain Hook and Elsa Lanchester in the title role.

Sheridan, who picked her last name out of a telephone book, played the detective's wife Steve in the Paul Temple films Calling Paul Temple (1948) and Paul Temple's Triumph (1950). She gave up her movie career during World War II to drive an ambulance.

Her resume also includes Irish and Proud of It (1938), Salute John Citizen (1942), The Huggetts Abroad (1949), Dark Secret (1949), Where No Vultures Fly (1951), director David Lean's Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952), The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953), Appointment in London (1953) and The Mirror Crack’d (1980), with Angela Lansbury.

Sheridan's survivors include actress Jenny Hanley, best known as a presenter on the ITV children's show Magpie, and politician Jeremy Hanley, once a member of Parliament. 

Sheridan was married four times: to actor Jimmy Hanley; to John Davis, then president of the British entertainment conglomerate the Rank Organisation, who insisted she give up her acting career (her return to the movies was The Railway Children); to actor John Merivale; and to California advertising executive Aubrey Ison.