British actor Sylvia Syms, best known for her roles in “Ice Cold in Alex” and “Victim,” died Friday in London. She was 89.
Syms’ family said that she died at Denville Hall, a care home in London for entertainment industry people.
“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,” Syms’ children, Beatie and Ben Edney, said in a statement. “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.”
Syms was educated at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In the first phase of her storied career, Syms had significant roles in British war classic “Ice Cold in Alex” and English civil war film “The Moonraker,” both of which released in 1958 and in “Victim” (1961) a film that helped towards decriminalizing homosexuality in the U.K.
Other notable film roles for Syms during this period included “Expresso Bongo” (1959), “The World of Suzie Wong” (1960) and “The Quare Fellow” (1962).
Syms received the first of her three BAFTA acting nominations for “Woman in a Dressing Gown” (1957), followed by nods for “No Trees in the Street” (1959) and “The Tamarind Seed” (1974). More recently, in Stephen Frears’ “The Queen” (2006), Syms played Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Helen Mirren who played her daughter Queen Elizabeth II, won an Oscar for her performance.
The actor also enjoyed a long career in television, with highlights including portraying British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in ITV’s “Thatcher: The Final Days” (1991) and roles in the BBC’s “Doctor Who,” “Casualty,” “Holby City” and “EastEnders.” From 2013 to 2019, Syms narrated the BBC’s “Talking Pictures,” which examined the lives and careers of popular actors. Most recently, Syms was in BBC series “Gentleman Jack”