Donald Sinden

Last updated on the 28 March 2024 by Evandrus

Donald Sinden Headshot

Mini Biography

Born: October 9, 1923, Saint Budeaux, Plymouth, England.

Donald Sinden (1923-2014) was born in Plymouth, Devon and grew up in Ditchling, East Sussex. He started acting as an amateur at the Brighton Little Theatre and later trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He served as an entertainer for the armed forces during World War II, as he was rejected for naval service due to asthma.

Donald Sinden rose to fame as a film star in the 1950s, working for the Rank Organisation at Pinewood Studios. He appeared in films such as The Cruel Sea, Mogambo, Doctor in the House, and The Siege of Sidney Street. He also became a respected Shakespearean and West End theatre actor, winning several awards for his performances in plays such as King Lear, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Two into One. He was known for his distinctive voice and his comedic timing.

Donald Sinden also had a successful career in television, starring in sitcoms such as Two’s Company and Never the Twain. He also narrated documentaries, hosted quiz shows, and wrote books and articles about his life and profession. He was a patron of several charities and a supporter of the Conservative Party. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979 and a Knight Bachelor in 1997.

Donald Sinden was married to Diana Mahony from 1948 until her death in 2004. They had two sons, Jeremy and Marc, both of whom became actors.

 

Suggested viewing

 

Two’s Company (1975)

Two's Company poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.9

In a posh London flat, a flamboyant American novelist and a stuffy English butler clash hilariously due to their polar opposite personalities and cultures. The impulsive writer, known for her scandalous thrillers, disrupts the uptight butler’s carefully ordered world with chaotic demands and brash Americanisms. Their constant witty banter and attempts to outmaneuver each other fuel the comedy, as they navigate cultural differences, unexpected guests and the challenges of living under the same roof.

Despite their initial friction, a begrudging respect and even a hint of warmth blossom, proving that sometimes, the most unlikely pairings can find common ground amidst the laughter and chaos.

Top cast: Donald Sinden Elaine Stritch, Joyce Carey, Penelope Keith, Saeed Jaffrey, Tony Selby, Bryan Pringle, Norman Bird, Paddy Joyce.

Twice Round the Daffodils (1962)

Twice Round the Daffodils poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.2

In a sanatorium filled with male patients recovering from tuberculosis, a group of newcomers yearn to walk twice around the daffodil bed, symbolising their full recovery. Among them are a charming yet hypochondriac writer, a flirtatious RAF officer and a timid poet bullied by a gruff coal miner. Their days are filled with doctor visits, physiotherapy and playful competition for the attention of the kind but firm nurses, all while living with the emotional rollercoaster of their illness and the camaraderie of shared experience.

As they laugh, bicker and support each other, the film explores themes of hope, resilience and the power of human connection in the face of adversity.

Top cast: Donald Sinden, Juliet Mills, Donald Houston, Kenneth Williams, Ronald Lewis, Andrew Ray, Joan Sims, Jill Ireland, Lance Percival, Sheila Hancock, Nanette Newman, Renée Houston.

Operation Bullshine (1959)

Operation Bullshine poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 5.6

Chaos erupts when a light anti-aircraft battery staffed by the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) prepares for a surprise inspection by their brigadier. A recently assigned officer finds himself facing not only the demands of wartime duty but also the unexpected arrival of his wife, who has secretly enlisted and landed at the same base, breaching regulations against couples serving together. Their attempts to hide their relationship under the watchful eyes of their superiors and amidst the frantic preparations lead to hilarious misunderstandings, romantic entanglements, and ultimately, a newfound appreciation for each other and the women serving their country.

With witty banter, slapstick humour and a glimpse into the experiences of female soldiers during World War II, “Operation Bullshine” delivers a lighthearted yet heartwarming comedy.

Top cast: Donald Sinden, Barbara Murray, Carole Lesley, Naunton Wayneo, Dora Bryan, John Cairney, Marianne Stone, Joan Rice.

Never the Twain (1981)

Never the Twain poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.6

In quaint English shops across the street, two rival antique dealers, one posh and one boisterous, wage an endless war of one-upmanship. Their bitter history fuels their constant bickering, pranks and attempts to outwit each other in securing valuable finds. Yet, their animosity is hilariously challenged when their children fall in love, forcing them to begrudgingly interact. Amidst awkward family dinners, competitive card games, and attempts to sabotage the budding romance, the men discover unexpected similarities and grudging respect.

As their children’s love blossoms, the rivals face a choice: remain locked in their bitter feud or find a way to coexist for the sake of their families, leading to heartwarming realisations and perhaps, a newfound understanding.

Top cast: Donald Sinden, Windsor Davies, Derek Deadman, Zara Nutley, Robin Kermode, Tacy Kneale, Julia Watson, Honor BlackmanTeddy Turner.

Full filmography (@Wikipedia)

 

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