Haydn Gwynne, ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Windsors’ Actor, Dies at 66

The four-time Olivier Award  nominee was also known for appearing in the live-action “Beauty and the Beast”

Haydn Gwynne
Haydn Gwynne attends the Olivier Awards nominations celebration (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

Hayden Gwynne, the actor known by American audiences for her work in “The Crown,” “The Windsors” and “Beauty and the Beast,” has died at the age of 66.

Gwynne died of cancer, according to the BBC. Last month, she pulled out of a play due to her diagnosis.

“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,” a statement obtained by the BBC reads. “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.”

Gwynne was acclaimed for her stagework. Over the course of her career, she won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as Mrs. Wilkinson in “Billy Elliot the Musical.” She was also nominated for the esteemed Olivier Award on four separate occasions for her roles in “City of Angels,” “Billy Elliot the Musical,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “The Threepenny Opera.”

However, audiences likely best know Gwynne for her television work. From 2016 to 2023, she starred as Camilla in the Channel 4 parody of the Royal Family, “The Windsors.” She also portrayed Lady Susan Hussey, who served as a Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II and as a Lady of the Household, in Netlfix’s “The Crown” and Clothilde, a minor character who is later revealed to be important, in the live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Gwynne’s most acclaimed television role was that of Alex Pates, one of the few “normal” characters in Channel 4’s cult comedy “Drop the Dead Donkey.” For that role, the actor was nominated for the 1992 BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance.


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