Donald Sinden, a British acting stalwart of stage and screen for more than 60 years who was known for a plummy voice and robust presence, whether appearing in Shakespeare tragedies or popular sitcoms, died Sept. 12 at his home in Romney Marsh, Kent, England. He was 90.
To American audiences, Sinden was best remembered for a series of movie roles in the 1950s. In "The Cruel Sea," one of the most gripping films ever made about wartime stress, he played a determined British navy officer opposite Jack Hawkins' unraveling skipper.
Sinden was a cuckolded anthropologist in "Mogambo" with Grace Kelly as his unfaithful wife. And he was one of the frisky, newly minted physicians in the "Doctor" film comedies starring Dirk Bogarde.
Sinden continued performing in dozens of movies, including the assassination thriller "The Day of the Jackal" (1973) as a Scotland Yard official, the Disney adventure film "The Island at the Top of the World" (1974) as an aristocratic explorer, and the animated feature "Balto" (1995) as a kindly Saint Bernard.
Mostly, he focused on stage work, including a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Co. For the RSC, he played the title roles of "Othello" and "King Lear" as well as the pompous Malvolio in the comedy "Twelfth Night," opposite Judi Dench as Viola.
Sinden was nominated for a Tony Award for best actor as a philandering doctor in 1975's "Habeas Corpus," a comedy by Alan Bennett.
Although he professed at times to disdain TV work, Sinden excelled as a farceur and was a star in two long-running British sitcoms.
"I've been very fortunate," he once said. "I've been in theater, films, television, radio, tragedy, comedy, farce -- I've been in a musical and in music halls, in pantomime, I was once ringmaster in a circus."