Dame Dorothy Tutin, an actress whose roles ranged from Peter Pan to Lady Macbeth, has died aged 71 after suffering from leukaemia. Dame Dorothy was created a Dame in 2000, having previously been awarded a CBE in 1967.

Dorothy Tutin was born in London, and after studying at RADA she made her stage debut as Princess Margaret in The Thistle and the Rose. Subsequent career highlights included seasons at the Old Vic, Graham Greene's play The Living Room, the role of Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera and the part of Joan in The Lark. Tutin also became a member of Sir Peter Hall's original Royal Shakespeare Company, for whom she played many of Shakespeare's leading ladies including Portia, Juliet, Cressida and Cleopatra.

Dame Dorothy's career was not merely confined to great stage roles, however. She made her film debut in Anthony Asquith's 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest, in which she played Cecily Cardew. Later screen roles included Anne Boleyn (pictured) in the major TV series The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Shooting Party (alongside James Mason) and Savage Messiah. For the latter film, in which she played the wife of a sculptor in World War One, she received a Variety Club award and a BAFTA nomination.

More recent stage works to feature Dame Dorothy included Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea and Pinter's Old Times. Then in 1999, she starred with Joss Ackland in DL Coburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Gin Game. Following regional dates, the play ran at London's Savoy Theatre with Tutin playing the prim and self-righteous Fonsia Dorsey. It was to be her last major stage work.

Adrian Noble, the RSC's Artistic Director, has commented that her performances for the company would remain an "inspiration to all those of us who had the good fortune to see her work". Despite having major reservations about her own talent in the early days, she became one of the most respected actresses of her generation. Dame Dorothy is survived by her husband Derek Waring, her son Nick and daughter Amanda.

- by Gareth Thompson