Tim Piggot-Smith has died three days before the opening night of Death of a Salesman in which he was due to take the lead role.
Staff and cast at Royal & Derngate in Northampton are “shocked and devastated” by the news which was announced by his agent, John Grant, today.
“It is with deep regret that I have to announce the sad news that Tim Pigott-Smith died this morning. Tim was one of the great actors of his generation. 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, and his son Tom and the family.”
Tim Pigott-Smith was born on 13 May 1946 in Warwickshire. He trained at Bristol Old Vic. He became a household name after appearing in the TV series The Jewel in the Crown (1984), for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor, and went on to become a familiar face on film, TV and stage.
His performance as Charles in Mike Bartlett’s play, King Charles III, at the Almeida Theatre then in the West End and on Broadway, won him Olivier and Tony Award nominations and has been made in to a TV film which will be broadcast on BBC 2 later this year.
He was awarded the OBE for services to drama in the 2017 New Years Honours. He wrote The Baker Street Mysteries series of children’s books.
Royal & Derngate’s Chief Executive Martin Sutherland and Artistic Director James Dacre said: “Everyone at Royal & Derngate and all involved with the production of Death of a Salesman are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Our heartfelt sympathies at this time are with Tim’s wife Pamela and their family.”
Tim had been staying in Northampton with his wife Pamela while they rehearsed their roles in Death of a Salesman which was due to open at the Royal and Monday and then go on national tour after a month.
Pamela had only just been forced to drop out of the cast after breaking a bone during rehearsals.
One insider said: “I was talking to someone at the theatre and they could hardly speak. At the moment they have no idea what to do with themselves. I think they are trying to contact people who have got tickets for the first night but everyone is so shocked and devastated. They are numb.
“The cast of a show becomes like a family when a production is being put together. It is very intense. He was the loveliest man. Everyone is just so shocked.”
One of Tim’s last interviews was with The NeneQuirer.