Sylvia Syms: English actress (1934-)
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Sylvia Syms
English actress

Sylvia Syms

Sylvia Syms
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro English actress
Is Actor
From United Kingdom
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 6 January 1934, Woolwich
Age 89 years
Children: Beatie Edney
The details (from wikipedia)


Sylvia May Laura Syms OBE (born 6 January 1934) is an English actress, best known for her roles in the films Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957), Ice Cold in Alex (1958), No Trees in the Street (1959), Victim (1961), The Tamarind Seed (1974) and The Queen (2006). She remains active in films, television and theatre.

Personal life

Syms was born in Woolwich, London, England, the daughter of Daisy (née Hale) and Edwin Syms, a trade unionist and civil servant. She was educated at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, on whose council she later served. Her daughter Beatie Edney is also an actress, and she is the aunt of musicians Nick and Alex Webb.


In her second film, My Teenage Daughter (1954), she played Anna Neagle's troubled daughter. In 1958, she starred in the film Ice Cold in Alex (alongside John Mills, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews); that same year she appeared in the English Civil War film, The Moonraker. She played opposite Dirk Bogarde in the film Victim as the wife of a barrister, who is a closet homosexual in 1961; the film was thought to have broadened the debate which led to the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in private. In 1962, she played Tony Hancock's wife in The Punch and Judy Man. The film also featured her nephew, Nick Webb. Other comedies followed, such as The Big Job (1965) with Hancock's former co-star Sid James, but it was for drama that she won acclaim, including The Tamarind Seed (1974) with Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif, for which she was nominated for a British Film Academy award. My Good Woman in 1972 was a husband-and-wife television comedy series which ran until 1974 with Leslie Crowther. At the same time, she was one of two team captains on the BBC's weekly Movie Quiz, hosted by Robin Ray. In 1975, she was the head of the jury at the 25th Berlin International Film Festival. In 1989, Syms appeared in the Doctor Who story "Ghost Light".

Shortly after the end of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's period of office in 1990, Syms portrayed her in Thatcher: The Final Days (1991), a Granada television film for ITV, which dramatises the events surrounding her removal from power. She later recreated the role on the stage. From 2000–03, she played Marion Riley in the ITV comedy-drama series At Home with the Braithwaites and in 2002, she featured in the serial The Jury and contributed "Sonnet 142" to the compilation album When Love Speaks. For Stephen Frears' The Queen (2006), she was cast in the role of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother with Dame Helen Mirren who, as her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, won an Oscar for her performance. She also appeared in The Poseidon Adventure (2005), an American TV film with a negligible connection to the 1972 feature film. She has also taken up producing and directing.

In 2009, she appeared in the film Is Anybody There? alongside Michael Caine and Anne-Marie Duff and in the ITV1 drama series Collision. In 2010, she guest-starred as a patient in BBC1's drama series Casualty, having played a different character in an episode from 2007. Syms had also appeared as another character in Casualty's sister series Holby City in 2003. Since 2007, Syms has had a recurring role in BBC One's EastEnders, playing dressmaker Olive Woodhouse. Her most recent appearance in the role was on 20 July 2010. In 2010, Syms took part in the BBC's The Young Ones, a series in which six celebrities in their seventies and eighties attempted to overcome some of the problems of ageing by harking back to the 1970s. Syms is the current narrator of the BBC Two programme Talking Pictures.


  • 1957 My Teenage Daughter
              The Birthday Present
              Woman in a Dressing Gown
              No Time for Tears
  • 1958 The Moonraker
              Ice Cold in Alex
              Bachelor of Hearts
  • 1959 No Trees in the Street
              Ferry to Hong Kong
              Expresso Bongo
  • 1960 Conspiracy of Hearts
              The World of Suzie Wong
  • 1961 Le Vergini di Roma
              Flame in the Streets
  • 1962 The Quare Fellow
  • 1963 The Punch and Judy Man
              The World Ten Times Over
  • 1964 East of Sudan
  • 1965 Operation Crossbow
              The Big Job
  • 1967 Danger Route
  • 1968 Hostile Witness
              The Fiction Makers
  • 1969 Run Wild, Run Free
              The Desperados
  • 1972 Asylum
  • 1974 The Tamarind Seed
  • 1978 Give Us Tomorrow
  • 1980 There Goes the Bride
  • 1986 Absolute Beginners
  • 1988 A Chorus of Disapproval
  • 1989 Shirley Valentine
  • 1990 The Laughter of God
  • 1992 Shining Through
  • 1993 Dirty Weekend
  • 1997 The House of Angelo
  • 1998 Food of Love
  • 2002 Deep Down
  • 2003 What a Girl Wants
  • 2004 Mavis and the Mermaid
  • 2006 The Queen
  • 2012 Booked Out
  • 2012 Run for Your Wife


  • 1967 The Saint
  • 1964 Danger Man (episode "It's Up to the Lady")
  • 1965 The Baron ("Farewell to Yesterday")
  • 1965 The Human Jungle ("Success Machine")
  • 1969 Strange Report
  • 1971 Paul Temple
  • 1972 The Adventurer
  • 1972–1974 My Good Woman
  • 1982 "It's your move" (TV short movie)
  • 1985 "Miss Marple: A Murder is Announced"
  • 1989 Doctor Who
  • 1991 Thatcher: The Final Days
  • 2000–2003 At Home with the Braithwaites
  • 2002 Doctor Zhivago
  • 2005 The Poseidon Adventure
  • 2007, 2009, 2010 EastEnders
  • 2009 Blue Murder
  • 2010 Doctors
  • 2011 Case Histories
  • 2011 Rev.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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