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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Actress Dorothy Tutin dies
Dame Dorothy Tutin
Dorothy Tutin was made a dame in 2000
The actress Dame Dorothy Tutin has died at the age of 71.

Dame Dorothy, one of Britain's leading actresses, died on Monday morning at the Edward VII hospital in Midhurst, West Sussex.

The actress, whose career on stage and screen spanned more than half a century, had been suffering from leukaemia.

In 1967, she received a CBE and in 2000, she was made a dame in the new year's honours list.

Dame Dorothy was considered one of the UK's most versatile actresses.

She was one of our great actresses, one of the best we ever had and she could play almost anything

Sir John Mils

Veteran British actor Sir John Mills paid tribute to Dame Dorothy, saying: "She was such a wonderful woman and a brilliant actress.

"She was one of our great actresses, one of the best we ever had and she could play almost anything. It is a very great loss."

During her heyday, Dame Dorothy starred in many high-profile productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She also had a distinguished film career, including her role as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest.

And she was also in numerous acclaimed TV dramas throughout her career.


Throughout her career, Dame Dorothy attracted rave reviews from the critics.

When she was 23, legendary critic Kenneth Tynan praised her as being "ablaze like a diamond in a mine" for her role in Graham Greene's The Living Room.

But as a child she had no desire to be an actress and only did so on the wishes of her father.

Dame Dorothy was born in London and initially had ambitions to be a pianist.

Dame Dorothy Tutin
Dame Dorothy: Career spanned 50 years

"I never wanted to act. I didn't like performing at school," she once said.

At school she was praised for her performance in a play and, on the insistence of her father, she joined the famous Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

From there, she made her stage debut in 1949 as Princess Margaret in The Thistle and the Rose.

Her career blossomed and Dame Dorothy was soon one of the world's hottest new acting talents.

She joined Sir Peter Hall's first company at the Royal Shakespeare Company and soon developed a gift for playing Shakespeare's often challenging leading ladies.

Historic role

Her other film roles included The Beggar's Opera in 1953, Cromwell in 1970 and The Shooting Party in 1984 with Sir John Gielgud and James Mason.

Dame Dorothy Tutin
Dame Dorothy was married to actor Derek Waring

Her most recent movie was Indian Summer with Anthony Sher in 1996.

She also made a film for TV called This Could Be The Last Time in 1998.

Other TV roles included playing Anne Boleyn in the BBC's Six Wives of Henry VII in 1971 , in the 90s she starred in the TV series Body and Soul.


Dame Dorothy also performed alongside Robert Lindsay and Julie Walters in Channel 4's series Jake's Progress.

Dame Dorothy was always highly critical of her own work. "I find what I do abominable," she once said.

"I pick away at myself because I am not as perfect as I would like to be."

Dame Dorothy was married to the actor Derek Waring and she leaves a son and a daughter, who are also both actors.

See also:

28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC: Shakespeare and beyond
29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
New HQ for historic stage school
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