Tributes are being paid to the British actor Simon Ward, who has died at the age of 70. His agent told Bbc News that he passed away on Friday (July 20, 2012), following a long battle with illness. His wife Alexandra and his daughters were by his bedside when he passed away. The director of his last major theatre performance (Alan Bennett's The Madness of George Iii), Alastair Whatley has described Ward's memorable performance and his courage in taking on the role.
"Already in declining health, Simon took on the one of the most challenging roles written in recent years," explained Whatley. "To an audience full of his family and friends, he gave a final blistering performance to a standing ovation from audience and cast members alike. A king to the very last. I know he will missed by many." Another former colleague of Ward's, David Page, also recalls working with him, back in 1973. Page worked as a driver for Ward whilst he filmed Dracula and said "Simon was always a gentleman and I greatly enjoyed hearing his stories and those of Nigel. Simon will, for me, always be remembered for his role as Winston Churchill in Young Winston."
An old school friend of Simon's explained that he had followed the actor's career with interest. He commented: "the acting profession will be poorer with his passing."