'The Crown,' 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Actor Ronald Pickup Dead at 80
Ronald Pickup, the esteemed British actor best remembered for his parts in the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" movies and for his performance on "The Crown," died February 24. He was 80.
Pickup's agent confirmed he had "passed away peacefully...surrounded by his wife and family," attributing his death to "a long illness."
Born in Chester, Cheshire, England on June 7, 1940, Pickup trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He made his TV debut on an episode of the popular series "Doctor Who" in 1964, but was far better known for his work on the stage, where he worked with Laurence Olivier and contemporaries like Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi and Patrick Stewart. It was Olivier who directed him in his film debut, "Three Sisters" (1970).
Among some of his most celebrated work was his starring role in the miniseries "Verdi" (1982), his voice work as Aslan in a 1988 British miniseries version of "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," and supporting performances in films like "The Day of the Jackal" (1973), "Zulu Dawn" (1979), "Never Say Never Again" (1983), "The Mission" (1986), and "Darkest Hour" (2017).
More recently, Pickup notched some of his most universally appealing work in the films "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2011) and "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2016) with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Jim Broadbent.
His recent TV work included "Young Dracula" (2014), "Call the Midwife" (2014), "Downton Abbey" (2015), and playing the Archbishop of Canterbury on four episodes of "The Crown" (2016).
Pickup is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Lans Traverse, one daughter and one son.