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About Simon Ward
Simon Ward was the actor best known for portraying Churchill in Richard Attenborough's 1972 film Young Winston.
Born in Beckenham, Kent, in 1941, Ward made his first break into acting with a part in Loot, a Joe Orton play, in 1967.
He had trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art but was still relatively unknown on the national scene when Attenborough appointed him to play Churchill.
With a slim build, prominent cheekbones and distinctive golden hair, the young actor had the appearance and the accent of the classic English public school boy.
Appearing alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft catapulted Ward into the national consciousness and he went on to play the Duke of Buckingham in The Three Musketeers, William Vereker in Zulu Dawn and, most recently, Bishop Stephen Gardiner in the 2010 television drama The Tudors.
He also performed with his daughter Sophie in Wuthering Heights and Heartbeat. Last May, Ward was forced to withdraw from playing Alfred Doolittle in Pygmalion a week before the show was due to open, after failing to overcome a virus.
He once claimed that his career suffered due to the chronic blood disorder polycythaemia, which he believed he developed as a result of an assault in 1987 that left him with a broken skull and in need of brain surgery.
Moving from London to Somerset a decade ago reduced Ward's hunger for work and he said he preferred to spend time with his children and six grandchildren.
He said: "I've never desperately wanted anything, neither fame nor riches." Recalling his time at drama school, he added: "The guy who taught us said to me: 'The thing is, you don't want anything and, until you do, you will always be a bloody awful actor.' There's a terrible truth in that."