Jeffery Dench

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jeffery Dench
Jeffery Danny Dench

(1928-04-29)29 April 1928
Died27 March 2014(2014-03-27) (aged 85)
Betty Martin
(m. 1953; died 2002)

Ann Curtis
(m. 2005)
Children3, including Emma Dench
RelativesJudi Dench (sister)
Finty Williams (niece)
Rebekah Elmaloglou (cousin)
Sebastian Elmaloglou (cousin)

Jeffery Danny Dench (29 April 1928 – 27 March 2014) was an English actor, best known for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was the older brother of actress Judi Dench.

Personal life[edit]

Jeffery Dench was born in Tyldesley, Lancashire to Eleanora Olave (née Jones), a native of Dublin, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a physician who met his future wife while studying medicine at Trinity College, Dublin.[1] Jeff lived in Tyldesley with his brother Peter; later the family moved to York where his sister, Judith, was born.

Dench attended St Peter's, York, where he began acting with the role of Cleopatra in George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra.[2]

He spent his national service at an army theatre in Catterick before attending the Central School of Speech and Drama. It was here that he met Betty, his first wife, who was working as a speech therapist. He moved to Clifford Chambers and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1963, where he worked for many years.[2]

With his wife Betty, Dench had three daughters: Sarah, a teacher who lives in Brailes; Clare, who lives in Shiplake; and Emma, a Roman historian previously at Birkbeck, University of London, and currently at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[3]

Betty died from a heart attack on 11 January 2002. Dench then married Ann Curtis, a costume designer for the RSC and a longtime family friend.[4] They lived in Stratford-upon-Avon and in 2012 he became the President of Stratford-upon-Avon Choral Society.[citation needed]

On 27 March 2014 it was announced that Jeffery Dench had died.[where?][5] Writing after his death, Sylvia Morris said:

When not playing grotesque old men, he brought humour, warmth and integrity to his parts. As a member of the audience, seeing Jeffery Dench's name on the cast list was a guarantee of quality. Shakespeare did write brilliant leading roles for Burbage and others, but he also wrote for a known company of talented professionals. The RSC has been fortunate to have among its regulars a number of high-quality actors, safe hands that could carry the plays along with distinction. Jeffery Dench was one of those, and if there were to be a late twentieth-century version of the page in the First Folio 'The Names of the Principal Actors in all These Plays', his name would be on the list.[6]

The RSC's artistic director, Gregory Doran, said he was, "the kind of actor that made the RSC what it is: he did not necessarily always play the leading roles, but proved by his presence that the company’s vitality lies in its strength in depth".[7]


Year Film Role Notes
1995 First Knight Elder

Television appearances[edit]

Year Programme Role Other notes
1955 BBC Sunday Night TheatreThe Merchant of Venice Launcelot Gobbo
1982 The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Mr. Cutler/Landlord/Mr. Blightey/Arthur Gride Mini Series
1985 Cyrano de Bergerac Marquis 1
1986 What a Way to Run a Revolution
1987 Rumpole of the Bailey Denis Driscoll Appeared in one episode, entitled Rumpole and the Old, Old Story
1989 The Lady and the Highwayman Magistrate
1996 The Brittas Empire Warwick Newmark Appeared in one episode, entitled Surviving Christmas
2000 Empires: The Greeks - Crucible of Civilization Pericles Uncredited

Selected theatre appearances[edit]

Year Play Role Theatre
1964 Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
1965 Hamlet by William Shakespeare Marcellus/Ambassador from England Aldwych Theatre, London
1969/71/72 Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Andrew Aguecheek Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon[8]
1971 Toad of Toad Hall by A. A. Milne Ratty Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
2002 Henry VThe Battle of Agincourt by William Shakespeare, adapted by John Barton Chorus Various, including King Edward VI School
2006 Merry Wives – The Musical by William Shakespeare Robert Shallow Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon


  1. ^ "The Importance of Dame Judi". 6 September 2002.
  2. ^ a b Profile Archived 8 November 2007 at,; accessed 19 March 2016.
  3. ^ Harvard University: Emma Dench,; accessed 19 March 2016.
  4. ^ Judi Dench and her brother Jeffery,; accessed 19 March 2016.
  5. ^ Jeffrey Dench, actor brother of Dame Judi Dench, dies,; accessed 19 March 2016.
  6. ^ Morris, Sylvia. "Veteran Shakespeare actor, Jeffery Dench". The Shakespeare Blog. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  7. ^ Quinn, Michael (14 April 2014). "Jeffery Dench". The Stage. London. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  8. ^ Twelfth Night,; accessed 19 March 2016.

External links[edit]