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Dorothy Tutin

1982 Promotional Image
Born 8 April 1930(1930-04-08)
London, England
Died 6 August 2001 (aged 71)
Chichester, West Sussex, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1949-1999
Spouse(s) Derek Waring (1964–2001)

Dame Dorothy Tutin DBE (8 April 1930 – 6 August 2001) was an English actor of stage, film, and television.

An obituary in The Daily Telegraph described her as "one of the most enchanting, accomplished and intelligent leading ladies on the post-war British stage. With her husky voice, deep brown eyes, wistful smile and sense of humour, she brought an enduring charm to all kinds of stage drama, ancient and modern, as well as to films and television plays in a career that spanned more than 40 years."[1]



Dorothy Tutin was born in London in 1930, daughter of John Tutin and his wife Adie Evelyn (Fryers), a couple who married the following year. Her year of birth was sometimes given as 1931, said to disguise the circumstances of her birth, but certainly not by herself.

She was educated at St Catherine's School, Bramley, Surrey and studied for the stage at PARADA and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Tutin was also a talented pianist, but chose acting rather than music as her vocation.

She married the actor Derek Waring, and they had two children, Nicholas (Nick) and Amanda, both of whom also became actors.

Dorothy Tutin and Derek Waring remained married until her death in 2001 at the age of 71 from leukaemia. Waring died in 2007.

Tutin was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967, and raised to Dame Commander (DBE) in 2000.




Dorothy Tutin made her first stage appearance at The Boltons on 6 September 1949, playing Princess Margaret of England in William Douglas-Home's play The Thistle and the Rose.

She joined the Bristol Old Vic Company in January 1950, appearing as Phebe in As You Like It, Anni in Denis Cannan's Captain Carvallo and Belinda in John Vanbrugh's The Provok'd Wife. She joined the Old Vic company in London for the 1950-51 season, playing among other parts, Win-the-Fight Littlewit in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, Ann Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Princess Katharine in Henry V.

At the Lyric Hammersmith in September 1951 she played Martina in Christopher Fry's Thor With Angels, followed in January 1952 by Hero in John Gielgud's triumphant production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Phoenix Theatre.

Subsequent roles included:

Work with the RSC

Tutin first joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company for the 1960 season in Stratford-upon-Avon, appearing as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Viola in Twelfth Night and Cressida in Troilus and Cressida. Then with the same company (but re-named the Royal Shakespeare Company from January 1961) she appeared as:

Other work included:

Films and television

Dorothy Tutin's unusual looks, as well as her acting ability, led to early success. She won the role of Cecily in Anthony Asquith's 1952 film version of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (BAFTA nomination for Most Promising Newcomer). In the same year she played Polly Peachum to Laurence Olivier's Macheath in Peter Brook's film version of The Beggar's Opera (1953).

Her next major film role was as Lucie in the 1958 film of A Tale of Two Cities, opposite Dirk Bogarde.

She continued to divide her appearances between stage, TV, and film, appearing in the 1970 film Cromwell as Queen Henrietta Maria, before playing another Queen in 1971 - Anne Boleyn in the BBC's series, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She also played Margot Asquith, the wife of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, in the dramatic series Number 10. (The Asquiths' son Anthony directed Dorothy Tutin in her film debut.) She appeared in the Ken Russell film Savage Messiah in 1972.

She also performed as the teacher Sarah Burton in the TV series South Riding (1974), based on the novel by Winifred Holtby. In the early 1980s Tutin also appeared in the made-for-television movie "Murder with Mirrors" (based on an Agatha Christie novel) along with Helen Hayes and Bette Davis. Another of her notable roles was as Goneril in an Emmy-winning television production of Shakespeare's King Lear, opposite Laurence Olivier as King Lear and Robert Lang as the Duke of Albany.


  • Who's Who in the Theatre 17th edition, Gale (1981). ISBN 0810302157.
  • Theatre Record and its annual Indexes.
  1. ^ Daily Telegraph obituary - see External link

External links


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