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Dorothy Tutin

Dorothy Tutin

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Also Known As: Dame Dorothy Tutin Died: August 6, 2001
Born: April 8, 1930 Cause of Death: leukemia
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Outside of England, where she enjoyed a long and distinguished stage career, actress Dorothy Tutin remained relative unknown. Viewers of PBS might recall her from her occasional appearances in acclaimed fare like "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (1971, as Anne Boleyn) or "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1989) or "The Great Kandinsky" (1995), just as art-house movie goers would remember her sterling performances in "Savage Messiah" (1972) and "The Shooting Party" (1984). Still, her stage work in both classical and contemporary roles remained the high point of her career.Born and raised in London, the petite, brunette did not have any intention of being an actress, intending instead to pursue a career as a musician. It was only at the urging of her father that she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Following her graduation, Tutin made her stage debut in 1949 and the following year joined the Bristol Old Vic Company. She segued to films in 1952 essaying the schoolgirl Cecily Cardew in the film version of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" and the following year co-starred with Laurence Olivier in "The Beggar's Opera", directed by Peter Brook. Yet, she was not terribly enamored of movie work,...

Outside of England, where she enjoyed a long and distinguished stage career, actress Dorothy Tutin remained relative unknown. Viewers of PBS might recall her from her occasional appearances in acclaimed fare like "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (1971, as Anne Boleyn) or "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1989) or "The Great Kandinsky" (1995), just as art-house movie goers would remember her sterling performances in "Savage Messiah" (1972) and "The Shooting Party" (1984). Still, her stage work in both classical and contemporary roles remained the high point of her career.

Born and raised in London, the petite, brunette did not have any intention of being an actress, intending instead to pursue a career as a musician. It was only at the urging of her father that she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Following her graduation, Tutin made her stage debut in 1949 and the following year joined the Bristol Old Vic Company. She segued to films in 1952 essaying the schoolgirl Cecily Cardew in the film version of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" and the following year co-starred with Laurence Olivier in "The Beggar's Opera", directed by Peter Brook. Yet, she was not terribly enamored of movie work, preferring the stage. Still in her early 20s, Tutin scored a theatrical success as the tragic heroine of "The Living Room" which made her an overnight sensation. Eschewing the trappings of fame, however, the actress bought an old boat which she moored in Chelsea and used as her home base until her 1963 marriage to fellow actor Derek Waring.

In 1954, Tutin enjoyed another stage hit with her turn as Sally Bowles in the play "I Am a Camera". She once again acted alongside Olivier in the premiere of John Osbourne's "The Entertainer" (1957) and returned to the screen alongside Dirk Bogarde in "A Tale of Two Cities" (1958). As the 50s came to a close, the actress joined the acting company at Stratford-upon-Avon (the precursor of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Tutin quickly became the company's leading lady, essaying several of the Bard's major female roles (Viola, Portia, Juliet, Ophelia, etc.), enjoying a particular success as Rosalind in "As You Like It" in the late 60s.

In 1972, Tutin had her best screen role as Sophie Brzeska (termed by Pauline Kael as "a brilliant shrew--comic, high-powered, and erotically nasty"). As the older would-be author who encourages and loves the young sculptor Henri Gaudier (Scott Anthony), the actress delivered a bravura turn. While there was the inevitable talk of an Oscar nomination for her work, the resulting nomination did not materialize. (One can't but think the very private actress might have disdained the attention anyway.) Instead, there were more theater triumphs like "Peter Pan" (1971 and 1972), "A Month in the Country" (1974-75), Cleopatra and Madame Ranevskya to name but a few. In the mid-80s, Tutin excelled as Goneril to Olivier's "King Lear" in a TV adaptation and she graced movie screens as the hostess of the titular "The Shooting Party" (both 1984). Although her last film role was as the dotty ballet company director in "Alive & Kicking/Indian Summer" (1996) and one of her last TV appearances was in the prophetically named British telefilm "This Could Be the Last Time" (1998). Tutin and Joss Ackland headlined a 1999 revival of "The Gin Game" and she acted opposite her husband Derek Waring, daughter Amanda Waring and son-in-law Robert Daws in the Chichester Festival production "20th Century Review". (Her son Nicholas Waring is also an actor). She was named a Dame Commander of the British Empire some eighteen months before her untimely death from leukemia in August 2001.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Alive & Kicking (1996) Luna
2.
 Shades of Fear (1994) Gwendolyn Quinn
3.
 Agatha Christie's Murder With Mirrors (1985) Mildred Strete
4.
 Shooting Party, The (1984) Lady Minnie Nettleby
5.
 Savage Messiah (1972) Sophie Brzeska
6.
 Cromwell (1970) Queen Henrietta Maria
7.
8.
 The Beggar's Opera (1953) Polly Peachum
9.
 The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952) Cecily Cardew
10.
 Great Kandinsky, The (1995) Florence
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in London
:
During WWII, evacuated from London to Harrogate
1949:
Stage debut in "The Thistle and the Rose"
1950:
Joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre
1952:
Film debut, "The Importance of Being Earnest"; played Cecily
1953:
First leading role on London stage in "The Living Room"
1953:
Co-starred with Laurence Olivier in the film version of "The Beggar's Opera"; played Polly Peachum
1954:
Won notice for playing Sally Bowles in "I Am a Camera" on stage in London
1957:
Co-starred in John Osbourne's play "The Entertainer"
1958:
Acted with Dirk Bogarde in the film "A Tale of Two Cities"
1958:
Was a company member at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon, the precursor of the Royal Shakespeare Company
1963:
Portrayed Polly Peachum in "The Beggar's Opera" on stage in London
1963:
Broadway debut, "The Hollow Crown"
1968:
Had stage success as Rosalind in "As You Like It"; performed at Stratford, in London and in Los Angeles
1968:
Returned to Broadway as Queen Victoria in "Portrait of a Queen"
1971:
Starred as Kate in Harold Pinter's play "Old Times" in London
:
Played Anne Boleyn in "The Six Wives of Henry VIII"
1972:
Had widest film exposure as Sophie Breska in Ken Russell's "Savage Messiah"
1974:
Starred in the British TV series "South Riding"
:
Enjoyed a stage triumph in "A Month in the Country"
1978:
As member of the National Theatre, starred as Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra and Madame Ranevskya
1982:
Portrayed Sarah Bernhardt in the British play "After the Lions"
1984:
Delivered fine turn as Goneril to Olivier's "King Lear" (syndicated)
1984:
Was featured in the ensemble of the elegiac film "The Shooting Party"
1985:
Cast as Bette Davis' middle-aged daughter in the CBS TV-movie "Agatha Christie's 'Murder With Mirrors'"
1985:
Had leading role in Pinter's play "A Kind of Alaska"
1987:
Acted in the London production of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs"
1989:
Appeared in "A Little Night Music"
1993:
Had supporting role in the British telefilm "The Dancing Queen"
1994:
Cast as Lady Fenton in the CBS miniseries "Scarlett", a sequel of sorts to "Gone With the Wind"
1995:
Acted in "The Great Kandinsky"
1996:
Final film role, played the slightly dotty head of a dance company in "Alive & Kicking/Indian Summer"
1998:
Acted in the British telefilm "This Could Be the Last Time"
1999:
Starred opposite Joss Ackland in a London stage production of "The Gin Game"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

St Catherine's School: Bramley , Surrey -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: - 1949

Notes

Made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967.

Made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in December 1999.

"Every time Dorothy comes on stage in a new play she is another person. That is acting." --Dame Sybil Thorndyke

"I was once offered a Hollywood contract but I turned it down. It wouldn't have been right for it. I didn't want the trappings that went with it. So perhaps I got what I desired: a great deal of hard work and not much money. I wanted to be a good actress." --Dorothy Tutin in a 1977 interview, reprinted in her obituary in the London Times, August 6, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Laurence Olivier. Actor. Had relationship when they worked together on the film "The Beggar's Opera" (1953).
husband:
Derek Waring. Actor. Married from 1963 until her death.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Tutin. Scientist, naval architect. Designed the rudder used on the liner the "Queen Mary".
mother:
Adie Evelyn Tutin. Had been married previously.
half-brother:
Eric. Born c. 1925; died c. 1935; son from mother's first marriage.
son:
Nicholas Waring. Actor.
daughter:
Amanda Waring. Actor. Married to actor Robert Daws.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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