Veteran British actress DAME Judi Dench's early career was marred by personal tragedy when an unrequited love committed suicide.
The Iris star's brother JEFFREY reveals a young actor, thought to be Dench's stage co-star CHARLIE THOMAS, took his own life when they were both touring Australia in the 1969 with William Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT. Dench was playing the part of VIOLA while Thomas was her lover ORSINO.
Jeffrey recalls, "There was this chap who I think was madly in love Judi. She was fond of him but not in that way. Then he committed suicide. We were all terribly upset."
Dench later married actor Michael Williams in 1971, who rushed to Australia to comfort her following the tragedy.
Jeffrey says, "Mike Williams flew out to Australia. I liked him and he was good for Judi. When we came back to England we were all in the play LONDON ASSURANCE, and Judi and Michael got married during the run."
Williams died of cancer in 2001.