British actor Tim Pigott-Smith, who was best known for his Bafta-winning role in 1984 TV series The Jewel in the Crown, has died aged 70.
His agent described him as “one of the greatest actors of his generation”.
The actor was due to appear in a touring production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, with opening night in Northampton on Monday.
He received Olivier and Tony Award nominations in 2014-15 for his lead role in the play King Charles III.
He was also made an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list for his services to drama.
“It is with deep regret that I have to announce the sad news that Tim Pigott-Smith died this morning,” his agent John Grant said.
“Much-loved and admired by his peers, he will be remembered by many as a gentleman and a true friend. He will be much missed.
“We ask that you respect the privacy of his wife, the actress Pamela Miles, his son Tom and the family.”
Pigott-Smith was originally meant to appear as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman opposite his wife Pamela Miles.
However she pulled out of the production earlier this week when she broke a bone during rehearsals and needed surgery.
The play was due to tour in Cambridge, Exeter and Oxford until July after opening at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate Theatre.
“Everyone at Royal and Derngate and all involved with the production of Death Of A Salesman are deeply saddened by this tragic news,” the theatre said.
“Our heartfelt sympathies at this time are with Tim’s wife Pamela and their family.”
Fellow actors have also been paying tribute to Piggot-Smith.
Miranda Hart, who starred with him in an episode of the BBC Two comedy Miranda, tweeted: “So saddened by the news of Tim Pigott-Smith.”
“What a fun, lovely, kind, brilliant gent. Was part of one of my fav Miranda eps. Oh we laughed.”
Eddie Marsden said: “1st day on big film, full of nerves. #TimPigottSmith took me into his trailer & made us a pot of tea. Beautiful actor, lovely man. RIP.”
Kevin Spacey, who was artist director at London’s Old Vic theatre for 11 years from 2003, tweeted: “Today a great actor left the stage. But more than that, a great man. A friend & one of the kindest I’ve ever known. RIP Tim Pigott-Smith.”
Born in Rugby, Warwickshire, Pigott-Smith trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
He appeared in numerous Shakespearean stage productions before his big break in ITV’s The Jewel in the Crown, about the final days of the British Raj in India.
Starring as police superintendent Ronald Merrick, his performance saw him beat co-stars Charles Dance and Art Malik to win a best actor Bafta in 1985.
In a diverse career, his other TV credits include roles in The Vice, Bloody Sunday, Downton Abbey and Doctor Who.
On the big screen he notably appeared in Clash of the Titans, V for Vendetta and James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
According to IMDB, the actor was also currently working on a TV film version of King Charles III, which imagines Prince Charles’s accession to the throne following the death of the Queen.
It is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC Two later this year.
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