Sheila Sim

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Sheila Sim
Sheila Canterbury 2004.jpg
Lady Attenborough at Canterbury, October 2004
Born Sheila Beryl Grant Sim
(1922-06-05) 5 June 1922 (age 92)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Years active 1944–55
Title The Right Honourable Baroness Attenborough
Spouse(s) Richard Attenborough (m. 22 January 1945)
Children Michael Attenborough (b. 13 February 1950)
Jane (b. 30 September 1955 – 26 December 2004)
Charlotte (b. 29 June 1959)

Sheila Beryl Grant Attenborough, Lady Attenborough[1] (born 5 June 1922 in Liverpool, Lancashire), known professionally by her maiden name Sheila Sim, is an English film and theatre actress and the wife of the actor and director Richard Attenborough.


Sim was mainly active as an actress in the 1940s and 1950s. She appeared in the Powell and Pressburger film, A Canterbury Tale in 1944; she acted alongside her husband in the Boulting brothers' The Guinea Pig in 1948; and starred opposite Anthony Steel in 1954's West of Zanzibar.

In theatre, she notably co-starred with her husband, Richard Attenborough, in the first production of The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, which opened in London in 1952 (creating the role of Mollie Ralston). This thriller has since become the world's longest-running production of a play.

After recruitment by Noël Coward, Sim has actively served the Actors' Charitable Trust for more than 60 years. She was instrumental in the success of two redevelopments of the actors' care home, Denville Hall, in the 1960s and 2000s, and is currently a Trustee and Vice President of the charities.

Sim has been a significant benefactor to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where she originally trained; her husband has been RADA's president since 2003.


Sheila married Richard Attenborough on 22 January 1945 and they had lived in a house on Richmond Green in London from 1956 until 2012, when Richard put it up for sale for £11.5 million

The couple had three children, Michael, Jane, and Charlotte. Jane, along with her 15-year-old daughter, Lucy, and her mother-in-law, also named Jane, were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami as it struck their villa on the coast of Thailand on 26 December 2004. Michael and Charlotte are both involved, like their parents, in the dramatic professions: he as a director, she as an actress. Sim's brother, Gerald, is also an actor.

Recent health[edit]

Shortly before her 90th birthday, in June 2012 Sim entered the actors' home Denville Hall, for which she and her husband had helped raise funds.[2] In July 2012, while her husband Richard has been battling health issues in recent years, it was announced that Sim has been diagnosed with senile dementia.[3] In March 2013 in light of his deteriorating health, Richard Attenborough moved into Denville Hall to be with his wife, confirmed by their son Michael.[4]

Selected filmography[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Since Lady Attenborough is the wife of a peer, the correct style is Sheila Beryl Grant Attenborough, Lady Attenborough.
  2. ^ Hardcastle, Ephraim (31 May 2012). "New Ernest Hemingway biopic". Mail Online. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Melanie Hall (26 March 2013). "Film director Richard Attenborough moved to care home". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Release date for The Magic Box, in IMDb.