Donald Sinden

Born Oct 9, 1923
Hometown St Budeaux
Died Sep 12, 2014
Death Place Wittersham
Other Names Donald Alfred Sinden

Sir Donald Alfred Sinden is an English actor of theatre, film, television and radio and an author.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Donald Sinden.


1923 Birth Born on October 9, 1923.


1941 17 Years Old Sinden made his first stage appearance at the amateur Brighton Little Theatre (of which he later became President) in 1941, stepping into a part in place of his cousin Frank, who had been called up to war and so was unable to appear.
1942 18 Years Old Offered a professional acting part by the Brighton impresario Charles F. Smith, he made his first professional appearance in January 1942, playing Dudley in a production of George and Margaret for the Mobile Entertainments Southern Area company (known as MESA) and in other modern comedies, playing to the armed forces all along the South Coast of England during World War II and later trained as an actor at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. … Read More


1945 21 Years Old On 23 March 1945, he was one of only two people who attended his funeral. … Read More
1948 24 Years Old Sinden was married to the actress Diana Mahony from 3 May 1948 until her death from cancer aged 77 in 2004.
1953 29 Years Old After the critical and financial success of his first screen leading role in The Cruel Sea, made by Sir Michael Balcon for Ealing Studios in 1953, in which he co-starred and received top-billing with Jack Hawkins, Sinden was contracted for seven years to the Rank Organisation at Pinewood Studios and subsequently starred in 23 movies, many of them notable British films of the 1950s and early 1960s, including Mogambo; Doctor in the House; Above Us The Waves; The Black Tent; Eyewitness; Doctor at Large; The Siege of Sidney Street and Twice Round the Daffodils. … Read More


1954 30 Years Old 1 More Event
Sinden was the recipient of several "audience-based" awards during this period, including "The actor who made most progress during 1954". … Read More
1963 39 Years Old …  Outstanding among his many notable stage appearances for the RSC, both at Stratford-upon-Avon and in London's West End (usually at the Aldwych Theatre), was his performance in 1963 as the Duke of York in The Wars of the Roses opposite Peggy Ashcroft as Queen Margaret.


1964 40 Years Old Other notable performances by Sinden for the company were Eh? by Henry Livings in 1964; as Lord Foppington in The Relapse in 1967; Malvolio in Twelfth Night (opposite Judi Dench as Viola) in 1969 and again with Judi Dench and her husband Michael Williams in 1974, as Sir Harcourt Courtly in London Assurance (Albery Theatre).


1975 51 Years Old After the production transferred to New York in 1975, Sinden became the first recipient of the newly established Broadway Drama Desk Special Award. … Read More
1976 52 Years Old For the 1976 Stratford season and then at the Aldwych Theatre in 1977, Sinden won the Evening Standard Award as Best Actor for his performance in the title role of King Lear (with Michael Williams as the Fool). … Read More
1979 55 Years Old In 1979 he played the title role in Othello, directed by Ronald Eyre, becoming the last 'blacked-up white' actor to play the role for the RSC. … Read More
1981 57 Years Old In 1981, Sinden starred in the Thames Television situation comedy, Never the Twain. … Read More


1988 64 Years Old In 1988 he presented a documentary series on BBC TV about his love of The English Country Church, inspired by his grandfather's architectural drawings and watercolours. … Read More
1990 66 Years Old One episode in 1990 (A Car by Any Other Name) had Sinden being literally picked up by two police officers who were played by his own actor sons, Jeremy and Marc. … Read More
1996 72 Years Old The couple had two sons: the actor Jeremy Sinden (born 1950), who died of lung cancer in 1996 and the film director and West End producer Marc Sinden (born 1954). … Read More
2001 77 Years Old From 2001 to 2007 he played the part of senior judge (and father-in-law of the title character), Sir Joseph Channing in Judge John Deed and is the voice of Totally Viral. … Read More
2002 78 Years Old In 2002, the purpose-built theatre in Tenterden, Kent was named the Sinden Theatre.
2012 88 Years Old On 9 October 2012, he celebrated his 89th birthday and his retirement after 30 years as the longest-standing President of the Royal Theatrical Fund (founded by Charles Dickens in 1839) with a celebration lunch for 350 guests at the Park Lane Hotel, London which was compered by Russ Abbott and the charity auction was conducted by Jeffrey Archer. … Read More
2014 90 Years Old 1 More Event
Sinden received, posthumously, the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts at the Guildhall, London during the 2014 Theatre Awards UK ceremony, held on 19 October. … Read More
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