Sheila Gish

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Sheila Gish
Born Sheila Anne Syme Gash
(1942-04-23)23 April 1942
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, UK
Died 9 March 2005(2005-03-09) (aged 62)
London, England, UK
Cause of death
Facial cancer[1]
Years active 1968–2005
Spouse(s) Roland Curram (1964-1985) (divorced) 2 children
Denis Lawson (2004-2005) (her death)
Children Katharine (Kay) Ghislaine S. A. Curram (b. 1974)
Lou Gish (1967-2006)

Sheila Gish (23 April 1942 – 9 March 2005) was a British stage and screen actress. For her role in the 1995 London revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Company, she won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical. Her screen appearances included the films A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972), Quartet (1981), Highlander (1986) and Mansfield Park (1999), the 1969 BBC series The First Churchills, the 1992 TV miniseries of Danielle Steel's Jewels and the short-lived ITV sitcom Brighton Belles (1993-1994).

Personal life[edit]

She was born Sheila Anne Syme Gash in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made her stage debut with a repertory company. She had two daughters: the actresses Kay (Katharine Ghislaine S. A.) Curram and Lou Gish (1967–2006) by her first husband, the actor Roland Curram. While filming That Uncertain Feeling for BBC2 in 1985, she met actor Denis Lawson, who was to become her second husband.


Her first starring role in the West End was as Bella in Robert and Elizabeth. She continued to be best known for her stage work, but she also appeared in many television dramas, from The First Churchills (in which she played Mary of Modena) to the successful adaptation of Love in a Cold Climate (2001) in which she played the eccentric and outrageous Lady Montdore. She also appeared in episode 5 'Jigsaw' of the first series of Euston Film's The Sweeney (first broadcast 30/01/1975) as June Boyse (a villain's wife).

She occasionally appeared in films, her most notable performances being in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972), Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), the Merchant-Ivory film Quartet (1981), and as Mrs Norris in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1999). She is also known for her appearance as Rachel Ellenstein in the 1986 film Highlander and its 2000 sequel Highlander: Endgame.

In 1996, Gish played the role of Joanne in Stephen Sondheim's Company at the Donmar Warehouse directed by Sam Mendes. Gish received the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Role in a Musical for her performance.[2] In 1999 she played Miss Venable in Tennessee Williams's Suddenly Last Summer, directed by Sean Mathias with Rachel Weisz at the Comedy Theatre, London. One of her last stage roles was as Arkadina in the Chichester Festival Theatre's production of The Seagull in 2003.


Gravestone of Sheila Gish, Highgate Cemetery, London

By this time she had been diagnosed with cancer and had lost an eye as a result of surgery. She died in Camden, London.[3]

Her final performance was for BBC Radio. She is Scottish actor Ewan McGregor's aunt through her marriage to Lawson, his uncle.

Her daughter, Lou, also died of cancer less than a year after her mother.


External links[edit]