London: Veteran actress Dinah Sheridan, who appeared in classic British films including ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘Genevieve’, died peacefully at her home in Northwood, Middlesex, on Sunday. She was 92.
According to her agent the actress was surrounded by her family at the time she died.
Born Dinah Mec to a German mother and Russian father in 1920, she picked the name Sheridan out of the phone book.
Her birth name was pronounced “mess” and she did not want to give newspaper critics any ammunition, she said.
Sheridan landed her first film role at the age of 15 but put her acting career on hold to become an ambulance driver at the start of World War II.
In 1942, she married actor Jimmy Hanley and had three children with him.
Her son Jeremy went on to be Conservative Party chairman in the 1990s and his sister Jenny was an actress and presenter, hosting the ITV children’s show Magpie. Another daughter, born in 1944, lived for just for three days.
Sheridan and Hanley appeared in a string of films together but the actress left her husband in 1949. She enjoyed further screen success with the comedy Genevieve in 1953.
On marrying the head of the Rank organisation John Davis in 1954, he demanded that she give up acting to look after their children. But the marriage soon became difficult and they divorced 11 years later after Sheridan suffered a breakdown.
Her stage and screen career resumed, leading to the role in ‘The Railway Children’ in 1970.
In the 1980s, she became familiar alongside Nigel Havers and Tony Britton in the domestic sitcom ‘Don’t Wait Up’, while in 1984 she appeared with Keith Barron in the bakery-set TV comedy ‘All Night Long’.
Meanwhile, two years into a relationship with actor Jack Merivale, he was diagnosed with a kidney disease and she cared for him for 21 years until his death in 1990.
Her fourth husband was the Californian businessman Aubrey Ison, who died in 2007.
“I’ve had a very strange life,” the BBC quoted her as saying once.
“Whenever I’ve married, I’ve married for life. But things have gone desperately wrong,” she had said.