Sylvia Syms, the prolific English actress whose career stretched from 1955-2019, died at 89 on Friday, three weeks after celebrating her birthday, The Guardian reports.
Her family announced she died “peacefully” at Denville Hall, an assisted living facility in London specifically for retired performers.
“Our mother, Sylvia, died peacefully this morning,” a family statement read. “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.”
Born January 6, 1934, Syms was a classically trained actor who became an overnight star with her second movie role, in “My Teenage Daughter” (1956), which capitalized on the “delinquent” trend. Next, she was BAFTA-nominated for her work in “Woman in a Dressing Gown” (1957).
Other acclaimed work came in “Ice Cold in Alex” (1958), a thriller, and “Expresso Bongo” (1959).
In 1961, she played the wife of a man (the late Dirk Bogarde) being blackmailed for his homosexuality in “Victim,” a breakthrough film for queer cinema.
Excelling at comedy in the ’60s, her next major acclaim arrived via the romantic thriller “The Tamarind Seed” in 1974, earning her a second BAFTA nod.
In 2006, she took on the role of the Queen Mother in “The Queen,” directed by Stephen Frears and featuring Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II.
Syms had over 120 credits, many of them on TV later in her career, including the British series “Peak Practice” (1993-1995) and “EastEnders” (2007-2010).
Her greatest challenge on TV was playing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1991 telefilm “Thatcher: The Final Days.”
Her last work was on an episode of HBO’s “Gentleman Jack” in 2019.
In spite of an enviable career, she said in 2018, “There are lots of parts other people have had that I’d like to have played including anything Judi Dench has done. Anything!”
Along with acting, Syms was widely praised for her charity work, including as a supporter of the Stars Foundation for Cerebral Palsy, which earned her OBE status.
Married to Alan Edney from 1956 until their 1989 divorce, Syms is survived by her two children.