British actor Ronald Pickup, star of film, stage, and TV, dies at 80: Reports

News broke this week that another iconic actor had been lost.

British actor Ronald Pickup, best known for his role in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, died this week at the age of 80.

“Surrounded by his wife and family”

The BBC first reported his death, which was confirmed by his agent on Thursday.

Pickup “passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family,” the spokesperson said, adding that he “will be deeply missed.”

With an acting legacy that dates back to the 1960s, Pickup’s entertainment career began after he graduated from the University of Leeds with an English degree. Over the course of the subsequent decades, he made many memorable appearances in theater, film, television, and radio productions.

His first television came in 1964 when he portrayed a physician in an episode of Doctor Who titled “The Tyrant of France.”

In more recent roles, he appeared in television series including VeraCoronation StreetDoc MartinParade’s EndHolby City, and Downton Abbey.

“Ronald was an exceptional actor”

Pickup graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and proved his chops in numerous stage performances — including various Shakespeare plays such as Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing.

Over the past decade, he has gained widespread acclaim for his big- and small-screen appearances. In addition to his role in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2011 and its 2015 sequel, he also attracted fans for his performance in The Crown and his portrayal of Neville Chamberlain in the 2017 film The Darkest Hour, a film centering around the life of former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

For his part, Pickup once identified his favorite role as playing famed writer George Orwell in the made-for-television movie Crystal Spirit: Orwell on Jura.

Fans and colleagues alike reacted to his death with fond memories and condolences for those he left behind — including his wife, Lans Traverse, and their two children.

“We’re very sad to hear that Ronald Pickup has died,” wrote the National Theatre. “Ronald was an exceptional actor and had a long history with the NT, starting with 1964’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun. He went on to feature in 36 of our productions, and was a regular at The Old Vic under Laurence Olivier.”

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