Drop the Dead Donkey and The Windsors actress Haydn Gwynne dies aged 66 after cancer diagnosis

20 October 2023, 13:27 | Updated: 20 October 2023, 13:44

Haydn Gwynne has died aged 66
Haydn Gwynne has died aged 66. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Actress Haydn Gwynne, who starred in Drop the Dead Donkey, has died aged 66.

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She had been due to return to the West End but received a cancer diagnosis last month.

She appeared in hit TV shows including Peak Practice and more recently royal sitcom The Windsors.

She also placed Billy Elliot’s dance teacher in the West End musical, earning nominations for Tony and Olivier awards.

In a statement, her agent said: "It is with great sadness we are sharing with you that, following her recent diagnosis with cancer, the star of stage and screen Haydn Gwynne died in hospital in the small hours of Friday 20 October, surrounded by her beloved sons, close family and friends.

"We would like to thank the staff and teams at the Royal Marsden and Brompton Hospitals for their wonderful care over the last few weeks."

In September, she pulled out of a run of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends in the West End citing ‘sudden personal circumstances’.

In a statement at the time of Gwynne’s withdrawal, producer Cameron Mackintosh said: “Matthew Bourne and I were naturally very distressed, along with our brilliant cast headed by Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga, to learn that Haydn Gwynne must suddenly withdraw from the production, for the immediate future at least.

“Haydn gave an unforgettable performance of ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ during the Old Friends Gala Premiere in May 2022 and has been an integral part of this very close-knit company ever since.”