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Sheila Sims, Actress Who Was Richard Attenborough’s Widow, Dies at 93

Sheila Sim, the British actress who was the widow of British actor and director Richard Attenborough, and starred with him in several films as well as in the original stage production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” died on Tuesday. She was 93.

Her death was announced after a performance of “The Mousetrap” in Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. In the world premiere of the whodunit there in October 1952, she starred as Mollie Ralston, the proprietor of Monkswell Manor, opposite Attenborough. The couple moved with the production to the West End, where it has been playing continually ever since.

Since 2013 Sim had been living in Denville Hall, a London retirement home for actors, and she had been suffering from dementia.

Sim and Attenborough were married from January 1945 until his death in August 2014 at age 90.

On the big screen the couple worked together in 1947’s “Dancing With Crime,” 1948’s “The Outsider” and 1951’s “The Magic Box.” They also both appeared in the 2007 documentary “Mousetrapped,” celebrating the phenomenon of Christie’s stage hit.

Sheila Beryl Grant was born in Liverpool and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She made her film debut in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s “A Canterbury Tale” (1944), an updated reworking of the Chaucer. Sim later appeared in “Great Day” (1945); “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman” (1951), starring Ava Gardner and James Mason; and “The Night My Number Came Up” (1955).

After she was recruited by Noël Coward, Sim actively served the Actors’ Charitable Trust for more than six decades. She was instrumental in the successful redevelopment, both in the 1960s and 2000s, of the actors care home Denville Hall (where she would live her final days) and was a trustee and vice president of the charities.

The actress was also a significant benefactor for RADA, where her husband served as president from 2003 until his death.

Survivors include her son, theater director Michael Attenborough, and her brother-in-law, naturalist David Attenborough. Both her daughter Jane and granddaughter Lucy died in the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 230,000 people in 2004.

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