SIMON WARD 16 October 1941 – 20 July 2012
I was so sad to hear of the death of Simon ward on July 21st; he was only 70 and died peacefully in his sleep after a long illness.
Simon, his wife Alexandra and his youngest daughter Kitty lived next door to me, as my tenants, for several years, until they moved to the country around 7 years ago.
Simon was a dear, gentle man; not ambitious or pushy but always glad to use his talents as an actor. In 2010 he said that he had 'never desperately wanted anything, not fame nor riches' and in his last years, when he was ill with a chronic blood disorder his chief joys were the company of his grandchildren and the pleasures of living quietly in beautiful rural surroundings.
Simon told me once that the Essays of Montaigne was the most important book in his life and this lead me to read the Essays myself, which I am still doing, a little bit at a time because they need to be digested slowly and continually rediscovered. I find a link with Simon's thinking in the Essays and a connection with his beauty and talent by watching his films, especialy the two 'Musketeers' films in which he played the Duke of Buckingham. He also starred in war films such as 'Aces high', 'The Four feathers' and 'Zulu Dawn' as well as his first major role as 'young Winston' and on TV in 'All Creatures Great and Small', 'Judge John deed' and as Bishop Gardner in 'The Tudors'. After training with the NYT and RADA, Simon's first big chance came in 1967 in Joe orton's 'Loot'; I remember one day when he came over to my flat to discuss his tenancy and then started to tell me about working with Orton.... the fascinating story was interrupted by his having to go back home to look after his beloved dachshund Clovis,who had almost fallen into the pond.
Simon himself had a horrible accident in 1987, when he was attacked in a canal in Camden and suffered a fractured skull; he believed that the blood disorder that eventually killed him, came from the effects of this attack.
He is at peace now, though sadly missed by everyone who knew him as a person and as an artist.
With the wisdom of Montaigne, Simon 'reflected on everything, regretted nothing', was “contented to be ordinary and imperfect' and 'let his life be its own answer'.
Brigid Panet RADA Associate Tutor