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Sir Donald Alfred Sinden CBE FRSA (9 October 1923 – 11 September 2014)

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Actors Wilfred Pickles, left, and Donald Sinden in the BBC TV play 'The Frog' Ref #: PA.7125321  Date: 09/07/1956

Actors Wilfred Pickles, left, and Donald Sinden in the BBC TV play ‘The Frog’
Date: 09/07/1956

BBC:

Born in Plymouth, Devon, in October 1923, Sinden, the son of a country chemist, had intended to pursue a career as an architect and surveyor. That changed after he made his stage debut in an amateur production at the Brighton Little Theatre, in a role that was meant to be played by his cousin Leon before he was called up to fight in World War Two.

Sinden, who had been turned down for naval service himself because of asthma, would write later that he had “fallen among friends” and “never looked back”.

The production led to him being asked, in 1942, to join the Charles F Smith Company, a mobile troupe that entertained the troops along the south coast of England.

 

 

British actor Donald Sinden with his wife Diana. They are flying to Le Touquet, before driving to Cannes for the film festival. Ref #: PA.20805634  Date: 30/04/1956

British actor Donald Sinden with his wife Diana. They are flying to Le Touquet, before driving to Cannes for the film festival.
Date: 30/04/1956

Julia Lockwood, who is playing Peter Pan for the second year running, is pictured at the Scala Theatre, London, with two newcomers. They are Juliet Mills (foreground), who is to play Wendy, and Donald Sinden, who is playing Captain Hook. Date: 21/11/1960

Julia Lockwood, who is playing Peter Pan for the second year running, is pictured at the Scala Theatre, London, with two newcomers. They are Juliet Mills (foreground), who is to play Wendy, and Donald Sinden, who is playing Captain Hook.
Date: 21/11/1960

 

After brief training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, he quickly established himself as a stage performer and joined the Shakespearean Memorial Theatre Company, the forerunner to the RSC.

He made his screen debut in 1953 in film classic The Cruel Sea, playing a naval officer alongside Jack Hawkins, Denholm Elliott and Virginia McKenna.

 

 

 

 

British actor Donald Sinden with his wife Diana. They are flying to Le Touquet, before driving to Cannes for the film festival. Ref #: PA.20805634  Date: 30/04/1956

British actor Donald Sinden with his wife Diana. They are flying to Le Touquet, before driving to Cannes for the film festival.
Date: 30/04/1956

Actor Donald Sinden shows his son Jeremy a Pontiac at the Motor Show at Earls Court. Date: 15/10/1957

Actor Donald Sinden shows his son Jeremy a Pontiac at the Motor Show at Earls Court.
Date: 15/10/1957

Donald Sinden and Jill Melford rehearse for the play There's a Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre in London. Date: 13/06/1966

Donald Sinden and Jill Melford rehearse for the play There’s a Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre in London.
Date: 13/06/1966

 

Sinden went on to appear in the hit comedies Doctor in the House and Doctor at Large and was one of the Rank Organisation’s leading contract stars between 1954 and 1958.

Yet theatre remained his first love and from the 1960s onwards he would be seen more often on stage, primarily with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

 

 

Donald Sinden and Jill Melford rehearse for the play There's a Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre in London. Ref #: PA.20805709  Date: 13/06/1966

Donald Sinden and Jill Melford rehearse for the play There’s a Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre in London.Date: 13/06/1966

Judi Dench and Donald Sinden at Heathrow Airport, where they were due to embark on a tour of Japan and Australia with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Date: 08/01/1970

Judi Dench and Donald Sinden at Heathrow Airport, where they were due to embark on a tour of Japan and Australia with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Date: 08/01/1970

 

In the 1970s he appeared as an imperturbable butler alongside the late Elaine Stritch in ITV comedy series Two’s Company.

 

 

 

That was followed by Never the Twain, a long-running sitcom in which he and Windsor Davies played mutually antagonistic neighbours and business rivals.

 

Date: 01/09/1975

Date: 01/09/1975

Actress Elaine Stritch and actor Donald Sinden, stars of the television series "Two's Company", in a Jeep while they launch the opening of a new London showroom by the American-based firm. They are trying out one of the latest models, which is a far cry from the camouflaged jobs which stormed the beaches and battlefields of World War Two. Date: 17/05/1978

Actress Elaine Stritch and actor Donald Sinden, stars of the television series “Two’s Company”, in a Jeep while they launch the opening of a new London showroom by the American-based firm. They are trying out one of the latest models, which is a far cry from the camouflaged jobs which stormed the beaches and battlefields of World War Two.
Date: 17/05/1978

Comic legend Norman Wisdom (right) up to his old tricks as he licks newly Knighted actor,  Sir Donald Sinden, during today's (Sunday) unveiling of a plaque in Wisdom's honour in the British Comedy Society's Hall of Fame, at Pinewood studios. He is the first comedian to receive the honour to mark 50 years in showbusiness. Date: 15/06/1997

Comic legend Norman Wisdom (right) up to his old tricks as he licks newly Knighted actor, Sir Donald Sinden, during today’s (Sunday) unveiling of a plaque in Wisdom’s honour in the British Comedy Society’s Hall of Fame, at Pinewood studios. He is the first comedian to receive the honour to mark 50 years in showbusiness.
Date: 15/06/1997

PA Photo 16/7/90 Actor Donald Sinden with sons Jeremy and Marc in London for the first day of filming ITV's "Never the Twain" in London

PA Photo 16/7/90 Actor Donald Sinden with sons Jeremy and Marc in London for the first day of filming ITV’s “Never the Twain” in London

Sinden was made a CBE in 1979 and knighted in 1997. He was married to wife Diana for more than 50 years, until her death in 2004. His son Jeremy, also an actor, died from cancer in 1996.

His other son, Marc, is a director and producer whose credits include Great West End Theatres, a Sky Arts documentary series that his father presented.

“Actors ought to be larger than life,” Sir Donald told the Observer in 1989. “An actor who knows his business ought to be able to make the London telephone directory sound enthralling.

“When I meet people they say, ‘I thought you put that voice on for TV,'” he said on another occasion. “But you can’t put on a voice like this – you’re just lumbered with it.”

Actor Donald Sinden with his CBE, which he received from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Actor Donald Sinden with his CBE, which he received from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

PA NEWS 28/11/97 ACTOR DONALD SINDEN WITH HIS WIFE AT THE EVENING STANDARD DRAMA AWARDS.  *22/10/04: Lady Diana Sinden, the wife of veteran actor Sir Donald Sinden, died at the age of 77. She fought a battle with cancer, and died at the Pilgrim's Hospice, in Ashford, Kent.

PA NEWS 28/11/97 ACTOR DONALD SINDEN WITH HIS WIFE AT THE EVENING STANDARD DRAMA AWARDS. *22/10/04: Lady Diana Sinden, the wife of veteran actor Sir Donald Sinden, died at the age of 77. She fought a battle with cancer, and died at the Pilgrim’s Hospice, in Ashford, Kent.

Actor Sir Donald Sinden and jazz singer Dame Cleo Laine at Buckingham Palace today (Tuesday) where they received their investitures from the Queen. Photo by John Stillwell.  Date: 09/12/1997

Actor Sir Donald Sinden and jazz singer Dame Cleo Laine at Buckingham Palace today (Tuesday) where they received their investitures from the Queen. Photo by John Stillwell.
Date: 09/12/1997

Sir Ian McKellen (L) and Sir Donald Sinden unveil a plaque at the Lyceum Theatre, central London, to mark the centenary of the death of Britian's first theatrical knight, Sir Henry Irving, Monday 13 February 2006.

Sir Ian McKellen (L) and Sir Donald Sinden unveil a plaque at the Lyceum Theatre, central London, to mark the centenary of the death of Britian’s first theatrical knight, Sir Henry Irving, Monday 13 February 2006.

Sir Donald Sinden (right) and Daniel Radcliffe during a photocall at the STR Theatre Book Prize at The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, central London. Picture date: Thursday 12 April 2007. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire Date: 12/04/2007

Sir Donald Sinden (right) and Daniel Radcliffe during a photocall at the STR Theatre Book Prize at The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, central London.
Picture date: Thursday 12 April 2007. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Date: 12/04/2007

Actor Sir Donald Sinden  at Buckingham Palace today (Tuesday) where he received his Knighthood from the Queen. Photo by John Stillwell. See PA Story ROYAL Investiture. WPA ROTA. ... INVESTITURE Sinden ... 09-12-1997 ... LONDON ... Photo credit should

Actor Sir Donald Sinden at Buckingham Palace today (Tuesday) where he received his Knighthood from the Queen. Photo by John Stillwell. See PA Story ROYAL Investiture. WPA ROTA. … INVESTITURE Sinden … 09-12-1997 … LONDON … Photo credit should