British actor Sylvia Syms, known for her roles in films such as “Ice Cold in Alex,” “Expresso Bongo,” “The Tamarind Seed,” and “The Queen,” has finally left this world at the age of 89. According to a statement given by her family, Syms passed away peacefully on Friday at Denville Hall, a care home in London for those in the entertainment industry.
Syms, born in 1934, began her acting career after studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Her breakout role came in 1956 with her portrayal of a delinquent in “My Teenage Daughter.” The following year, she received a nomination for the BAFTA for Best British Actress for her role in the kitchen-sink drama “Woman in a Dressing Gown.”
Over the next several years, Syms continued to take on prominent roles in films, including a nurse in the classic war thriller “Ice Cold in Alex” (1958), wannabe singer Maisie in “Expresso Bongo” (1959), and the wife of Dirk Bogarde’s closeted barrister in “Victim” (1961).
Transitioning to Comedy in the 1960s.
In the 1960s, Syms turned her attention to comedy, starring as Tony Hancock’s aspirational wife Delia in “The Punch and Judy Man” (1963) and taking on the role of a caper-chasing thief in “The Big Job” (1965) alongside Sid James, Dick Emery, and Joan Sims. She received another BAFTA nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as a diplomat’s wife in the romantic thriller “The Tamarind Seed” (1974), which starred Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif.
Continued Success on Television
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Syms remained active in the industry, taking on guest roles on popular television shows such as “Miss Marple,” “Doctor Who,” and a series about Nancy Astor. In 1991, she played the title role in the ITV film “Thatcher: The Final Days,” which she took on with enthusiasm. She also went on to play the Queen Mother opposite Helen Mirren in the Oscar-winning film “The Queen” (2006), directed by Stephen Frears. Her most recent role was in the 2019 TV series “Gentleman Jack.”
Throughout her career, Syms received praise for her versatility as an actress and her ability to take on a wide range of roles. She was married to Alan Edney from 1956 to 1989 and is survived by two children, one of whom, Beatie Edney, is also an actor.
A Life Filled with Joy and Laughter
Syms’ children, Beatie and Ben Edney, stated her passing, saying, “Our mother, Sylvia, died peacefully this morning. She had an incredible life and continued to bring joy and happiness to us right up until the very end. The day before yesterday, the two of us were talking about all the exciting times we’ve had together. She will be greatly and profoundly missed.
Sylvia Syms was a talented actress and a woman who lived her life to the fullest, giving joy and laughter to those around her until the very end. Her contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered for many years.