Obituary: Denholm Elliott

I HAVE no idea, writes Bryan Forbes, what verdict your obituary (by David Shipman, 7 October) will pronounce on my old friend Denholm Elliott, since I am writing this within a few moments of learning of his death, but there is no doubt in my mind that he is irreplaceable.

Denholm had a quality that I never saw duplicated. He was not only a uniquely honest actor, devoid of pretensions about himself or his art, but he also brought to every role he played a kind of magic that cannot be taught but is born of instinct. I had the great good fortune to direct him twice and he always surprised me. Even given the most mundane lines he produced something above and beyond the evidence and shook life into cliche characters. I shall miss him as a friend and the British theatre and film industry will surely miss one of our most distinguished players.