Ronald Pickup, the veteran British actor who played the Archbishop of Canterbury in Netflix's hit series The Crown, died Wednesday. Pickup also starred as Neville Chamberlain opposite Gary Oldman's Winston Churchill in 2017's Darkest Hour. His best-known film role is Norman Cousins in 2012's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its follow-up, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in 2015.
Pickup "passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family. He will be deeply missed," his agent told the BBC on Thursday. The actor is survived by his wife, Lans Traverse, their daughter Rachel and son Simon, reports Variety. Rachel Pickup is also an actress and had a role in Wonder Woman. She acted alongside her father in a 2008 episode of Midsomer Murders.
We're very sad to hear that Ronald Pickup has died.
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. pic.twitter.com/C6wBmAnSNA— National Theatre (@NationalTheatre) February 25, 2021
Pickup was born in Chester, England on June 7, 1940, and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. His first role came during the very first series of Doctor Who. After graduating, he starred in a 1964 production of Julis Cesar, playing Octavius. He also acted with Laurence Olivier in productions of Three Sisters and Long Day's Journey Into Night. He received a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award nomination in 1998 for Amy's View.
His long list of film credits includes The Day of the Jackal, Zulu Dawn, The Mission, Secret Passage, and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby. In 1983, he had a small role in Never Say Never Again, the last movie featuring Sean Connery as James Bond. On television, he starred in episodes of Waking the Dead, Doc Martin, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, The Worst Week of My Life, Behaving Badly, Coronation Street, and Young Dracula. Last year, he starred in the horror movie End of Term.
In 2012, Pickup told the PA news agency his favorite role was George Orwell. In 1983, Pickup played the author in a TV movie titled Crystal Spirit: Orwell on Jura. The movie chronicled Orwell writing his novel 1984.
"We're very sad to hear that Ronald Pickup has died," the National Theatre said in a statement. "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."