Actor Ronald Pickup, best known for his roles in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films and TV drama Orwell On Jura, has died at the age of 80.
His agent confirmed: ‘Ronald Pickup actor aged 80 passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family.
‘He will be deeply missed.’
Ronald is survived by his wife Lans Traverse, who he married in 1964, and daughter, Rachel Pickup, an actress, and son Simon Pickup.
Sad news: Actor Ronald Pickup, best known for his roles in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films (pictured) and TV drama Orwell On Jura, has died at the age of 80
The esteemed star was trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he met his wife, and went on to become an associate member of the prestigious theatre school.
The actor then joined Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic and was well-known for his work on the stage before moving on to enjoy an illustrious television and film career.
Ronald began his TV career back in 1964 with his first big appearance being in Doctor Who, where he played a physician in part 4 of The Reign of Terror.
Following his first appearance, he then went on to star in Hornblower, Coronation Street, Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, Doc Martin, Waking The Dead, Silent Witness, Sherlock Holmes, The Bill, Inspector Morse and The Riff Raff Element.
He is best known for his role in the British-Indian comedies, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2011 and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2015, where he starred alongside Celia Imrie, Judi Dench and Diana Hardcastle.
Heartbreaking: He is survived by his wife Lans Traverse, who he wed in 1964, after meeting while he studied at RADA (the couple, pictured in 2015)
He played the role of Norman Cousins, an aged lothario, in the film which centres around a group of British pensioners relocating to a retirement hotel in India, which is run by the very eager Sonny, played by Dev Patel.
In 2012, he spoke about what attracted him to the role of Norman, saying: ‘What appealed to me about the character was the fact that he is not good at what he would like to be and that is being this lounge lizard and successful with the women…
‘He tries these awful chat up lines and things that he thinks are in some way attractive but he is just really bad at it.
‘He tries too hard and that gives him a vulnerability that I found appealing and there is something kind of desperate’.
Starring role: The star was trained at RADA before joining Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic and was well-known for his stage work (pictured at The National Theatre in 1967)
His film career also included his role as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 2017’s The Darkest Hour and as a government official in 1983’s Never Say Never Again.
He starred with his daughter Rachel in two productions – Midsomer Murders episode The Magician’s Nephew in 2008 and 2016’s Schadenfreude.
Ronald had the huge accolade of working with Laurence Olivier at the Royal National Theatre, in Three Sisters and Long Day’s Journey into Night.
In 1998, he was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his performance in Amy’s View.
In 2014, Pickup had a cameo in Coronation Street, playing an OAP attending a birthday party at the Rovers Return with Michelle Connor, played by Kym Marsh.
Chameleon: Ronald began his TV career in 1964 with his first big appearance in Doctor Who, where he played a physician in part 4 of The Reign of Terror (pictured in Hornblower in 2001)
Transformation: Ronald is pictured in the production of Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in January 2009
In 2016, he played the role of Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in four episodes of the Netflix series The Crown.
The following year in 2017, Pickup played Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in Oscar-winning World War II movie, Darkest Hour.
Most recently, the actor starred in horror film End Of Term just last year, which starred former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison.
In 2006, Ronald spoke to Rogues & Vagabonds about where his on-stage skills come from and if he was born to play the part: ‘My mother was always ‘theatrical’ She was a wonderful mimic. She loved theatre…
‘In Chester where I was born, she was brought up in a house which was next door to the old Royalty Theatre – a beautiful little Victorian gem, now sadly knocked down. She loved it. But she was too terrified to take acting up professionally.’
Hello there! Ronald pictured with director John Madden and Dame Judi Dench at the Royal Film Performance and World Premiere of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2015
When asked if he surprised his parents with his on-stage desires, he went on: ‘I don’t think my mother was [surprised].
‘She sensed it because I’d been interested from about the age of 8. They took me to see Hamlet with Olivier…
‘I was absolutely enthralled. My father was more cautious. He was a teacher/lecturer in French and English at a teacher’s training college…
‘I think he was worried, as that generation were, of having ‘something to fall back on’. But, on the whole, they were hugely supportive.’
Starring: Ronald is pictured in sitcom The Worst Week of My Life, where he played Fraser