Sylvia Syms Death: Prolific British Actor, Dies At Age 89

The British actor Sylvia Syms, who played many different roles in movies like Ice Cold in Alex, Expresso Bongo, The Tamarind Seed, and The Queen, died at 89.

According to a statement given to PA by her family, Syms “died peacefully” on Friday at Denville Hall, a care home in London for those in the entertainment industry. Her children, Beatie and Ben Edney, said: “Our mother, Sylvia, died peacefully this morning. She has lived an amazing life and gave us joy and laughter right up to the end. Just yesterday we were reminiscing together about all our adventures. She will be so very missed.”

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Who Was Sylvia Syms?

Syms was born in 1934. She went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) to study acting. In her first significant film role as a delinquent in My Teenage Daughter, she immediately made a big splash (1956). The following year, she had a key supporting role in the early kitchen-sink drama Woman in a Dressing Gown, for which she was nominated for the Bafta for the best British actress.

Sylvia Syms Death
Sylvia Syms Death

She played more important roles after that. She was a nurse in the classic war thriller Ice Cold in Alex (1958), a want-to-be singer named Maisie in Expresso Bongo (1959), and the wife of Dirk Bogarde’s closeted lawyer in Victim (1962). (1961).

In the 1960s, she moved into comedy. In 1963, she played Tony Hancock’s ambitious wife, Delia, in The Punch and Judy Man, and in 1965, she starred with Sid James, Dick Emery, and Joan Sims in The Big Job, a comedy that was similar to Carry On.

In the 1974 romantic thriller The Tamarind Seed, which starred Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif, Syms played the wife of a diplomat. She was nominated for a Bafta for best supporting actress for this role.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Syms kept working on TV. He starred opposite Leslie Crowther in the TV show My Good Woman and had guest roles on Miss Marple, Doctor Who, and a presentation about Nancy Astor.

In 1991, she played the title role in the ITV movie Thatcher: The Final Days, which she loved. Later, she played the Queen Mother opposite Helen Mirren in the Oscar-winning film The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears and won the award that year. Gentleman Jack, a 2019 TV show, was the last time she was on screen.