Donald Sinden was born on 9 October 1923, the son of Alfred Edward Sinden and his wife Mabel Agnes (née Fuller). He made his first stage appearance in 1942 and was with the Leicester Repertory Theatre in 1945, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company at Stratford, 1946-47, the Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic, 1948, and the Haymarket 1949-50. Under contract with the Rank Organisation from 1952 to 1960, he appeared in 23 films, among which were “The Cruel Sea” and “Doctor in the House”. He returned to the theatre, playing in “Odd Man In” at the St Martin’s in 1957. Subsequently he has appeared in most major theatres and with companies throughout Britain in a variety of roles ranging from light comedies and farces to classics. His numerous parts have included Lord Foppington in “The Relapse” with the RSC (Aldwych 1967), Malvolio and Henry VIII (Stratford and the Aldwych 1969-70), Sir Harcourt Courtly (G0762) in “London Assurance” (Aldwych 1970, New Theatre 1972, and a tour of America) for which he won a Drama Desk Award, Stockman in “An Enemy of the People” (Chichester 1975), Benedick in “Much Ado about Nothing” (Stratford and Aldwych 1976-77), King Lear (Stratford and Aldwych 1976-77), for which he received the “Evening Standard” and the Variety Club Award for Best Actor, 1977, and Othello (Stratford and Aldwych 1979-80). He continues to grace the London stage at this writing.
He received the CBE in 1979 and was knighted in 1997. Sir Donald’s services to his profession include: Trustee, British Actors Equity Association (1982-), Arts Council Drama Panel (1973-1977), London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art Council (1976-), Arts Council of Great Britain (1982-1986), Chairman British Theatre Museum Association (1971-1977) and Theatre Museum Advisory Council (1973-1980). He is currently (since 1983) President of the Royal Theatrical Fund. His books include “A Touch of the Memoirs” (autobiography, 1982), “Laughter in the Second Act” (autobiography, 1985), “The Everyman Book of Theatrical Anecdotes” (ed. 1987), “The English Country Church” (1988) and “The Last Word” (ed. 1994). He joined the Garrick Club in 1960 and was a Trustee 1980-2000. (WW; see also Burnim and Wilton, “The Richard Bebb Collection in the Garrick Club”, B90)