Dorothy Tutin

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Dorothy Tutin

Promotional image of Tutin in 1982
Born(1930-04-08)8 April 1930
London, England
Died6 August 2001(2001-08-06) (aged 71)
Years active1949–1999
SpouseDerek Waring (1963–2001; her death)

Dame Dorothy Tutin, DBE (8 April 1930 – 6 August 2001) was an English actress of stage, film and television. For her work in the theatre, she won two Olivier Awards and two Evening Standard Awards for Best Actress. She was made a CBE in 1967 and a Dame (DBE) in 2000.

Tutin began her stage career in 1949 and won the 1960 Best Actress Evening Standard Award for Twelfth Night. Having made her Broadway debut in the 1963 production of The Hollow Crown, she received a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1968 original Broadway production of Portrait of a Queen. In the 1970s, she won a second Best Actress Evening Standard Award and won the Olivier Award (then the Society of London awards) for Best Actress in a Revival for A Month in the Country and The Double Dealer. Her films included The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), The Beggar's Opera (1953), A Tale of Two Cities (1958), Savage Messiah (1972) and The Shooting Party (1985).

An obituary in The Daily Telegraph described her as "one of the most enchanting, accomplished and intelligent leading ladies on the post-war British stage. With her husky voice, deep brown eyes, wistful smile and sense of humour, she brought an enduring charm to all kinds of stage drama, ancient and modern, as well as to films and television plays in a career that spanned more than 40 years".[1]


Dorothy Tutin was born in London on 8 April 1930, the daughter of John Tutin and Adie Evelyn Fryers, a Yorkshire couple who married the following year.[2]

She was educated at St Catherine's School, Bramley, Surrey and studied for the stage at PARADA[3] and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Tutin was also a talented pianist.

In 1963 she married the actor Derek Waring, and they had two children, Nicholas (born 1966) and Amanda, both of whom became actors (mother and daughter appeared together in the 1989 All Creatures Great and Small episode "Mending Fences").[2] Dorothy Tutin and Derek Waring remained married until her death in 2001 at the age of 71 from leukaemia.[2] Waring died in 2007, also from cancer.



Dorothy Tutin made her first stage appearance at the Boltons on 6 September 1949, playing Princess Margaret of England in William Douglas-Home's play The Thistle and the Rose.

She joined the Bristol Old Vic Company in January 1950, appearing as Phebe in As You Like It, Anni in Denis Cannan's Captain Carvallo and Belinda in John Vanbrugh's The Provok'd Wife. She joined the Old Vic company in London for the 1950–51 season, playing Win-the-Fight Littlewit in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, Ann Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Princess Katharine in Henry V.

At the Lyric Theatre in September 1951, she played Martina in Christopher Fry's Thor with Angels, followed in January 1952 by Hero in John Gielgud's production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Phoenix Theatre.

Subsequent roles included:

Work with the RSC[edit]

Tutin first joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company for the 1958 season in Stratford-upon-Avon, appearing as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Viola in Twelfth Night and Ophelia in Hamlet. With the same company (but renamed the Royal Shakespeare Company from January 1961), she appeared as:

Other work included:

Films and television[edit]

Tutin won the role of Cecily in Anthony Asquith's film version of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), for which she received a BAFTA nomination for Most Promising Newcomer). She then played Polly Peachum to Laurence Olivier's Macheath in Peter Brook's film version of The Beggar's Opera (1953).

Her next major film role was as Lucie in the film A Tale of Two Cities (1958), opposite Dirk Bogarde.

She continued to divide her appearances among stage, TV and film, appearing in the title role of a television production of Jean Anouilh's Antigone (1959) and the film Cromwell (1970) as Queen Henrietta Maria, and then played Anne Boleyn in the BBC's series The Six Wives of Henry VIII (also 1970), which starred Keith Michell in the title role. She also played Margot Asquith, the wife of Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, in the dramatic series Number 10 (1983). She appeared in the Ken Russell film Savage Messiah (1972), and was a panellist over many years (at least from 1967 to 1983) on Face the Music.[4][5][6][7]

She also performed as the teacher Sarah Burton in the TV series South Riding (1974), based on the novel South Riding by Winifred Holtby. She starred as Mrs. Alving in Yorkshire Television production of Ibsen's Ghosts (1977). In the early 1980s, Tutin also appeared in the made-for-television film Murder with Mirrors (1985, based on an Agatha Christie novel) along with Helen Hayes and Bette Davis. Another of her notable roles was as Goneril in an Emmy-winning television production of Shakespeare's King Lear (1983), opposite Laurence Olivier as King Lear. She guest starred in an episode of the 1980s TV-series Robin of Sherwood as Lady Margaret of Gisbourne.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref
1953 BAFTA Film Award Most Promising Newcomer to Film The Importance of Being Earnest Nominated [8]
1960 Evening Standard Award Best Actress Twelfth Night Won
1960 Tony Award Best Actress in a Play Portrait of a Queen Nominated
1971 BAFTA TV Award Best Actress The Six Wives of Henry VIII / Somerset Maugham Series (Flotsam and Jetsam) Nominated
1973 BAFTA Film Award Best Actress Savage Messiah Nominated
1975 Evening Standard Award Best Actress A Month in the Country Won
1975 BAFTA TV Award Best Actress South Riding Nominated
1976 Olivier Award Best Actress in a Revival A Month in the Country Won [9]
1978 Olivier Award Best Actress in a Revival The Double Dealer Won [10]


Tutin was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by The Queen in 1967, and raised to Dame Commander (DBE) in 2000.


Year Title Role Notes
1952 The Importance of Being Earnest Cecily Cardew
1953 The Beggar's Opera Polly Peachum
1958 A Tale of Two Cities Lucie Manette
1970 Cromwell Queen Henrietta Maria
1972 The Spy's Wife Hilda Tyler
Savage Messiah Sophie Brzeska
1985 The Shooting Party Lady Minnie Nettleby
Murder with Mirrors Mildred Strete
1994 Great Moments in Aviation Gwendolyne Quim
1996 Indian Summer Luna


  1. ^ Daily Telegraph obituary – see External link
  2. ^ a b c All Memories Great & Small, Oliver Crocker (2016; MIWK)
  3. ^ Preparatory Academy to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, as listed by Tutin in her first biographical entry for Who's Who in the Theatre in 1957
  4. ^ "Dorothy Tutin". IMDb. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Face the Music Episode #2.1". IMDb. 16 September 1970. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Face the Music Episode #2.3". IMDb. 30 September 1970. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Face the Music [24/04/83]". BFI. 24 April 1983. Archived from the original on 20 December 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Explore the Awards | BAFTA Awards". Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1976 - Olivier Awards". Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1978 - Olivier Awards". Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.

External links[edit]