Sylvia Syms dies

From Ice Cold In Alex to EastEnders – a much loved actress

The actress Sylvia Syms, who lived in Dukes Avenue in Chiswick, has died at the age of 89.

The actress, who lived in a care home for her last few years, played Olive Woodhouse in EastEnders (pictured above), first appearing in the TV soap in 2007. She also appeared in Doctor Who but her career spanned six decades and to older people she is better known for her films, such as Ice Cold In Alex (1958) and Victim (1961).

A statement from her children, Beatie and Ben Edney, on Friday 27 January 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.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Denville Hall for the truly excellent care they have taken of our Mum over the past year.”

Image above: Sylvia Syms in Ice Cold In Alex

Sylvia Syms was educated at convent schools before she decided to become an actress and join the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, graduating in 1954. Her acting career began when she was just 19, in repertory theatre in Eastbourne and Bath.

She started getting parts in films quite quickly, plaing the troubled daughter in My Teenage Daughter (1956), Sister Diana Murdoch in the 1958 British war film set in North Africa, Ice Cold In Alex, starring John Mills. The film was a prizewinner at the 8th Berlin International Film Festival.

She went on to star opposite Dirk Bogarde in Victim (1961), the story of a man threatened with blackmailed over his sexuality, and from then on was known as one of the ‘Grand Dames’ of British Cinema.

She had many theatre roles, including parts in Much Ado About Nothing, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Antony and Cleopatra. She worked in television, featuring in the husband and wife TV comedy My Good Woman from 1972 to 1974 and as a team captain in The Movie Quiz.

In recent years she worked with Helen Mirren on the hit film The Queen, in whcih she played the role of the Queen Mother. Her most recent role was in the BBC period drama Gentleman Jack, as Mrs Rawson.

Chiswick has lost another of our great thespians.

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