The Lady Attenborough
Lady Attenborough at Canterbury, October 2004
Sheila Beryl Grant Sim
5 June 1922
|Died||19 January 2016 (aged 93)|
|Other names||Sheila Beryl Grant Attenborough|
(m. 1945; died 2014)
|Children||Michael, Jane and Charlotte|
Sheila Beryl Grant Attenborough, Lady Attenborough (née Sim; 5 June 1922 – 19 January 2016), known professionally by her maiden name Sheila Sim, was an English film and theatre actress. She was the wife of the actor, director and peer Richard Attenborough.
Sheila Beryl Grant Sim was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, only daughter of banker Stuart Grant Sim (1893-1975) and his wife Ida Isabel Carter (married in April 1920). Brought up at "Carnlea" overlooking Calderstones Park in Liverpool and later, 18 The Ridge at Purley in Surrey, Sim was privately educated before training at RADA. Sim was mainly active as an actress in the 1940s and 1950s. She appeared in the Powell and Pressburger film, A Canterbury Tale (1944); she acted alongside her husband in the Boulting brothers' The Guinea Pig (1948); and starred opposite Anthony Steel in West of Zanzibar (1954).
After recruitment by Noël Coward, Sim 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 was a Trustee and Vice-President of the charities.
Sim was a significant benefactor to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where she originally trained; her husband was RADA's president from 2003 until he died in 2014.
The couple had three children, Michael (born 13 February 1950), Jane (30 September 1955 – 26 December 2004), and Charlotte (born 29 June 1959). 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 in the dramatic professions: he as a director, she as an actress. Sim's younger brother, Gerald, who died on 11 December 2014, was also an actor.
Richard Attenborough died on 24 August 2014. Sim and Attenborough had been married for 69 years.
Ill health and death
In June 2012, shortly before her 90th birthday, Sim entered the actors' retirement home Denville Hall, for which she and her husband had helped raise funds. In July 2012, while her husband Richard had been battling health issues in recent years, it was announced that Sim had been diagnosed with senile dementia.
In March 2013 in the light of his deteriorating health, Richard Attenborough moved into Denville Hall to be with his wife, confirmed by their son Michael. Her younger brother Gerald likewise lived in Denville Hall until his death in December 2014.
Her death was announced on 19 January 2016. Sim was cremated and her ashes were interred in a vault at St Mary Magdalene church in Richmond beside those of her husband, daughter Jane Holland and her granddaughter, Lucy, both of whom had died in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
- A Canterbury Tale (1944)
- Great Day (1945)
- Dancing with Crime (1947)
- The Guinea Pig (1948)
- Dear Mr. Prohack (1949)
- Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
- The Magic Box (1951)
- West of Zanzibar (1954)
- The Night My Number Came Up (1955)
- Since the Lady Attenborough's late husband was a peer, her correct style is the Right Honourable Sheila Beryl Grant Attenborough, the Lady Attenborough.
- "Lady Attenborough – obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Lord Attenborough's family rally round as Sheila Sim is hit by illness". The Daily Telegraph. 27 July 2012. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- "Actor Richard Attenborough dies at 90". BBC News Online. 24 August 2014. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- WENN (27 July 2012). "Lord Richard Attenborough's Wife Suffering From Dementia". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- Hall, Melanie (26 March 2013). "Film director Richard Attenborough moved to care home". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- Coveney, Michael (4 March 2015). "Gerald Sim obituary". the Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- Pocklington, Rebecca (20 January 2016). "Richard Attenborough's widow Sheila Sim dies aged 93 following battle with dementia". Scottish Daily Record. Sunday Mail Ltd. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Release date for The Magic Box, in IMDb.