Sir Donald Sinden CBE dies

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Cordon Press

SIR DONALD SINDEN has died at his home, aged 90. His family announced the news this morning, just a few weeks before his 91st birthday.

The knighted stage, film and television actor lost his battle on Thursday after being diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago.  

His son, the actor and film director Marc Sinden, read out in a statement: “My father has finished dying. He suffered for a few years from prostate cancer which slowly spread. He will be a huge loss to the family.”

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Sinden, who had more than 70 credits for film and TV productions, was born in Plymouth on October 9, 1923. The son of a chemist, he intended to pursue a career in architecture until he replaced his cousin in an amateur production at Brighton Little Theatre, during the Second World War. Donald was colour blind and suffered from asthma which prevented him from joining the armed forces.

He trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, making his first film appearance in the 1953 film The Cruel Sea.  During filming it was discovered that he suffered from negative buoyance after nearly drowning whilst filming in an open air water-tank in Denham studios. His co-star Jack Hawkins jumped in and saved him.


Sinden went on to appear in the hit comedies Doctor in the House and Doctor at Large, but theatre was his first love, so by the 1960’s he was performing on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company,  quickly landing leading roles such as King Lear and Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

He was awarded a CBE in 1979 and was granted a knighthood in 1997 for his services to drama. He was married for 50 years to the actress Diana Mahony, until her death in 2004. They had two sons, Jeremy and Marc.  Jeremy died from cancer in 1996.


The knighted stage, film and television actor lost his battle on Thursday after being diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago.  

His son, the actor and film director Marc Sinden, read out in a statement: “My father has finished dying. He suffered for a few years from prostate cancer which slowly spread. He will be a huge loss to the family.”

Sinden, who had more than 70 credits for film and TV productions, was born in Plymouth on October 9, 1923. The son of a chemist, he intended to pursue a career in architecture until he replaced his cousin in an amateur production at Brighton Little Theatre, during the Second World War. Donald was colour blind and suffered from asthma which prevented him from joining the armed forces.

He trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, making his first film appearance in the 1953 film The Cruel Sea.  During filming it was discovered that he suffered from negative buoyance after nearly drowning whilst filming in an open air water-tank in Denham studios. His co-star Jack Hawkins jumped in and saved him.

Sinden went on to appear in the hit comedies Doctor in the House and Doctor at Large, but theatre was his first love, so by the 1960’s he was performing on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company,  quickly landing leading roles such as King Lear and Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

He was awarded a CBE in 1979 and was granted a knighthood in 1997 for his services to drama. He was married for 50 years to the actress Diana Mahony, until her death in 2004. They had two sons, Jeremy and Marc.  Jeremy died from cancer in 1996.




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