Dame Dorothy Tutin's esteemed company of peers included other remarkable dames, including Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Unlike these others, Dorothy had limited screen time over the years and would develop the respect but not the stardom afforded the other two outside the realm of the theatre. Dorothy was born in London on April 8, 1930, the daughter of John and Adie Evelyne (Fryers) Tutin. Educated at St. Catherine's, she studied for the stage at PARADA and RADA, making her debut performance as "Princess Margaret" in "The Thistle and the Rose" on September 6, 1949. In the early 1950s, she joined both the Bristol and London Old Vic companies where she rose in stature with secondary roles in "As You Like It", "The Merry Wives of Windsor", "Henry V" and "Much Ado About Nothing". She later demonstrated her versatility outside the classics when she originated the role of "Sally Bowles" in "I Am a Camera" in 1954 and later played "Jean Rice" in "The Entertainer" in 1957.
Great promise was held for Dorothy after an auspicious film debut as "Cecily Cardew" in the classic Oscar Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest (1952). Despite sterling film portrayals of "Polly Peachum" opposite Laurence Olivier's "Macheath" in The Beggar's Opera (1953) and "Lucie Manette" in a remake of A Tale of Two Cities (1958) with Dirk Bogarde, Dorothy abruptly left the cinema to return to the comforts of a live stage. She continued to play all the illustrious Shakespearean femmes (Juliet, Desdemona, Rosalind, Ophelia, Portia, Cressida) during her excursions with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and Royal Shakespeare companies, and won the coveted Evening Standard award for her "Viola" in "Twelfth Night" in 1960. During this time, she returned to the role of "Polly Peachum", this time on stage, in 1963, and won acclaim for her "Queen Victoria" in "Portrait of a Queen" in 1965. She took the role to Broadway in 1968 and won a Tony nomination. In the 1970s, she appeared in everything from Harold Pinter plays to "Peter Pan".
Though her film and TV output was limited, the performances Dorothy gave during these sporadic occasions were nothing less than astonishing. Included among these triumphs has to be her "Anne Boleyn" opposite Keith Michell as one of "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (1970), and "Goneril" in Laurence Olivier's heralded adaptation of King Lear (1983) (TV). In a rare and rather bizarre moment on film, she top-lined one of Ken Russell's quirky biopics of the 1970s, the flop-turned-cult classic Savage Messiah (1972), in which she played a Polish noblewoman married to the much younger sculptor, "Henri Gaudier-Brzeska".
In later years, Dorothy enhanced several costumed TV movies with an always fascinating grande dame eloquence. An intriguing "Desiree Armfeldt" in "A Little Night Music" in 1989 and both an Evening Standard and Laurence Olivier Award winner for her superlative work in "A Month in the Country", Dorothy took her final curtain in a revival of "The Gin Game" opposite Joss Ackland in 1999. Honored with the title "Commander of the British Empire" in 1967, she was made a "Dame" for her services to the theatre in the 2000 New Year Honors.
Diagnosed with leukemia, Dame Dorothy died on August 6, 2001, at the Edward VII Hospital in London. She was survived by her actor husband (since 1963) Derek Waring and their two children, Amanda Waring and Nick Waring, both of whom are actors. Daughter Amanda, in fact, occasionally appeared as younger versions of her mother on TV during the 1990s and went on to gain a bit of fame for herself as a musical "Gigi". Her husband died in 2007.