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Sir Donald Sinden (Photo: REX/David Fisher)

Sir Donald Sinden (Photo: REX/David Fisher)

West End dims lights for Donald Sinden

Published 12 September 2014

The West End will tonight dim its lights in tribute to the great actor Sir Donald Sinden who has passed away aged 90.

The grand tradition, which is performed to pay respects to theatre’s most prestigious and loved contributors, will take place across the capital’s theatre district at 19:00.

Over an illustrious eight decade career on stage and screen, Sinden undoubtedly proved to be one of the most respected actors of his generation, working with a long list of theatrical greats from John Gielgud to Judi Dench.

With an extensive list of stage credits to his name, the actor was a regular on the West End stage following training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, while his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company gave audiences the pleasure of seeing Sinden play many of Shakespeare’s great leading male roles.

On screen his credits totalled more than 70 film and television appearances. The public will no doubt remember him well from popular series Judge John Deed and sitcom Never The Twain, films including The Cruel Sea, A Day To Remember and The Day Of The Jackal, and even the iconic Spitting Image on which the actor was famously spoofed.

Announcing his father’s passing in a statement, Sinden’s son, the actor and film director Marc Sinden, said: “My father has finished dying. He suffered for a few years from prostate cancer which slowly spread. He bravely continued presenting our Sky Arts documentary series Great West End Theatres in spite of a minor stroke until it became just too difficult for him and at his insistence his illness was kept from all but the closest friends.

“Even though his death was expected, it is still a huge loss to his family and we, his brother, his son, his four grandchildren and great-grandchild will all miss his humour and knowledge and we would all like to share our appreciation for the Pilgrims Hospice and the carers that looked after him and us with such dignity, consideration and care until the end.”

Also noted in his statement was the staggering fact that Sinden was only unemployed for a total of five weeks during his career that spanned between 1942 and 2008, an incredible testament to his talent and respect within the industry.

Sinden, who was awarded both a CBE and a knighthood for services to drama, was married to fellow actor Diana Mahony until her death in 2004.

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