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article image'Dam Busters' actor Richard Todd dies aged 90

By Gemma Fox     Dec 4, 2009 in Entertainment
The actor Richard Todd, best known for his role as Guy Gibson in the classic war film 'The Dam Busters', has died aged ninety.
Born Richard Andrew Palethorpe-Todd in Dublin in 1919, the actor led a long and successful life on stage and film. A family spokesperson said that he had died peacefully on Thursday at home near Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK.
Todd, who had been battling cancer, celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year with a quiet gathering near his home.
Richard Todd began acting in 1937 but when World War II broke out he volunteered for duty, serving with the Army, Infantry and Parachute Regiment. He became a war hero after being one of the first British soldiers to parachute into France.
Although playing many roles over his long career Todd is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Wing Commander Guy Gibson in the 1955 film 'Dam Busters'. The film told the story of the development of the bouncing bomb which was used to destroy Ruhr dams in Germany during WWII. Gibson was the leader of the 1943 mission that was code-named 'Operation Chastise'.
In 1950 Todd was nominated for a best actor Oscar when he played opposite president-to-be Ronald Reagan in the film 'The Hasty Heart'.
He also starred in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller 'Stage Fright' and in 1962 starred in the war film 'The Longest Day'.
In the 1980's he appeared in four episodes of the sci-fi programme 'Doctor Who' starring with Peter Davidson who played the legendary Doctor at the time.
Todd was made OBE in 1993 and was last seen on TV in 2007 in an episode of the British drama 'Heartbeat' shown on ITV.
Throughout his career he also played many roles in Disney films and in 2002 he was called a "Disney legend". Making light of some of his roles such as Robin Hood and Rob Roy,Todd said, "My image was all daring deeds, until my swash began to buckle a bit."
Life wasn't without tragedy for Richard Todd though, in 1997 his youngest son Seamus ended his life by shooting himself and eight years later his eldest son, Peter, also took his own life after suffering from depression.
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