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Ronald Pickup, Actor in ‘The Crown,’ ‘Best Marigold Hotel,’ Dies at 80

Antonio Ferme
·2-min read

Ronald Pickup, the British actor best known for his roles in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” films and “The Crown,” died on Feb. 24. He was 80.

Pickup’s agent said he “passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family,” per the BBC. “He will be deeply missed.”

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Born on June 7, 1940 in Chester, England, Pickup was an actor that performed across film, television, radio and theater. He is best known internationally for his role in the 2011 film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its 2015 sequel. Pickup also played the archbishop of Canterbury in the first season of The Crown in 2016. In the following year, he portrayed Neville Chamberlain in the Winston Churchill film “Darkest Hour.”

After graduating the University of Leeds in 1962 with a degree in English, Pickup had his big break after landing his first television role as a physician in an episode of “Doctor Who.” Titled “The Tryant of France,” the actor was paid £30 for the episode back in 1964. From there, he had a few small television roles before he starring in his own four-part mini-series “The Dragon’s Opponent,” where he portrayed World War II bomb disposal expert Charles Howard. He also trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, where he met his wife and became a member of the RADA Academy. Upon graduation in 1964, he received the annual silver Bancroft Medal.

On stage, Pickup played Octavius in “Julius Caesar” under the direction of Lindsay Anderson in 1964 at the Royal Court Theater in London. Additionally, he worked with Laurence Olivier on multiple plays and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1998 for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his role in “Amy’s View.”

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

Pickup is survived by his wife, Lans Traverse, their son Simon and his daughter Rachel, who he starred alongside in the television show “Midsomer Murders” and the movie “Schadenfreude.”

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