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Ronald Pickup: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actor has died aged 80 after a long illness

Written by on 25 February 2021

Actor Ronald Pickup, who appeared in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films and The Crown, has died at the age of 80.

His agent, Jean Diamond, said the actor had been surrounded by his wife and family when he “passed away peacefully” on Wednesday after a long illness.

She added: “He will be deeply missed.”

Pickup’s decades-long career spanned widely across theatre, film and television; landing his first major role in 1964 as a physician in the Doctor Who episode The Tyrant of France.

Ronald Pickup (centre left) appeared alongside Dame Judi Dench (centre right) in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films Image: Ronald Pickup (centre left) appeared alongside Dame Judi Dench (centre right) in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films

In 2012, he told the Press Association that his favourite role had been playing George Orwell in Crystal Spirit: Orwell On Jura.

The movie reconstructed the story of the writer as he created his acclaimed novel 1984.

Pickup was perhaps best known for playing the role of Norman Cousins in the 2011 film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in which he appeared alongside Dame Judi Dench, Dev Patel and Bill Nighy.

He reprised the role again for the sequel in 2015.

A year later, Pickup appeared as the Archbishop of Canterbury on the first series of Netflix’s royal drama The Crown.

He also starred opposite Gary Oldman as former prime minister Neville Chamberlain in the Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, and last year starred in horror film End of Term.

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