Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actor Ronald Pickup dies aged 80

Tom Horton, PA
·2 min read

Actor Ronald Pickup, best known for his roles in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films and The Crown, has died at the age of 80.

He died on Wednesday, according to his agent.

Jean Diamond said in a statement: “Ronald Pickup actor aged 80 passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family.

“He will be deeply missed.”

Pickup, left, as King Henry IV with Jonathon Firth as Hal
Pickup, left, as King Henry IV with Jonathon Firth as Hal (Neil Munns/PA)

Pickup had a varied career across theatre, film and television.

His first major part came in 1964 when he starred in Doctor Who episode The Tyrant Of France as a physician.

Pickup told the PA news agency in 2012 that his favourite role was when he played writer George Orwell in Crystal Spirit: Orwell On Jura, which told the story of him writing his acclaimed novel 1984.

He also starred in films The Mission and Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.

The actor remained active into later life and continued to star in big name productions.

In 2016 he featured in the first series of hit Netflix royal drama The Crown as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 2017 Pickup starred opposite Gary Oldman as former prime minister Neville Chamberlain in Darkest Hour, which told the story of the lead up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Last year he starred in horror film End Of Term.

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Actor and presenter Les Dennis was among those paying tribute.

The former Family Fortunes host, 67, wrote on Twitter: “So sad to hear the wonderful actor Ronald Pickup has died. Saw him in Waiting for (Godot). He was magnificent. He came and guested on Coronation Street. He was so down to earth. I was in awe. RIP.”

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The National Theatre’s official Twitter account said: “We’re very sad to hear that Ronald Pickup has died.

“Ronald was an exceptional actor and had a long history with the NT, starting with 1964’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun.

“He went on to feature in 36 of our productions, and was a regular at The Old Vic under Laurence Olivier.”