Dame Gillian Lynne dead – West End choreographer dies aged 92 days after theatre named in her honour

News of her death comes just days after the West End's New London Theatre was renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre in her honour.

The announcement of her demise was made via Twitter by her husband Peter Land.

He wrote: “Rest in Peace my darling Gillie. I am heartbroken to write that Dame Gillian Lynne DBE & my dearest wife & friend & love for 40 years passed away at 6.20pm tonight 1st July 2018 at the Princess Grace Hospital.

“She leaves behind a huge legacy & is adored by many espec [sic] @peterland_uk.”

Dame Gillian’s extraordinary stage career included accomplishments both as a performer and choreographer, and tributes to her have already started flooding social media.

Her most iconic work included the movement in Cats and The Phantom of the Opera – two of the longest-running shows in Broadway history.

Having spent more than 50 years in showbiz, she had worked for a number of organisations including the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Australian Ballet.

At age 87, she was made a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2014 New Year Honours List.

Dame Gillian began her career as a dancer with Sadler's Wells Ballet and was so talented that she had roles created for her by Frederick Ashman and Robert Helpmann.

She also briefly directed for The Muppet Show.

Her final public appearance took place on June 22, 2018, when she was honoured by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh with the renaming of the New London Theatre.

On that day, Mackintosh said: "The two things I learnt on the first day of rehearsals [with you] was that you had the wickedest sense of humour ever and you liked to get your own way."

He added: "You've made many stars look wonderful over your career, but today you are the star of this theatre."

Dame Gillian is the first non-Royal woman to have the honour of her name on a theatre in London’s theatre district.

She told the audience at the unveiling that she could hardly believe the "incredible" accolade.

To affectionate laughter, she expressed "how lucky" she felt to be honoured by "two such special, attractive men – even on a bad day".

Speaking afterwards, Lord Lloyd-Webber claimed: "It seemed so obvious to name the theatre after her. I was ashamed I didn't think of it earlier."

Actress Bonnie Langford, who once played Rumpleteazer in Cats, described the renaming as an “extraordinary honour”.

She added: “Her name will now remain in lights forever, which is what she has always wanted.”



 

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