Perhaps not an actress well-known outside the UK - her career was almost entirely British film and latterly mostly TV - but, for me, she has been one of the most watchable, dependable character actresses for 50 years.
It's only in recent years I've seen two of her earlier films: Ice Cold in Alex (1958) and Flame in the Streets) (1961) - both excellent performances - but for many years I've known her from her wonderful role in the entertaining (and under-rated) The Tamarind Seed (1974). And, of course, from numerous TV shows/series such as The Saint and My Good Woman.
I thought she was miscast in the wonderful The Big Job (1965) but that was due more to her playing so against type with Sidney James et al.
And before anyone poses the question, the answer is The Tamarind Seed.
I first saw her in Ice Cold in Alex on TV, though as I was a boy I wasn't really interested in women at that time. Once I saw the film sometime later in my teens, then I noticed her. Lovely. Most of her later work passed me by, with only the occasional noticeable performance, as by then I'd moved on in my interests.
Sylvia Syms co-starred with Dirk Bogarde in Basil Dearden's Victim, the film for which Syms (I should think) is most remembered.
Late-1950s & early-1960s was the period during which she was the female lead:
1957 The Birthday Present (music by Clifton Parker) 1958 The Moonraker (Laurie Johnson) 1958 Ice Cold in Alex (Leighton Lucas) 1958 Bachelor of Hearts (Hubert Clifford) 1959 No Trees in the Street (Laurie Johnson) the top-billed 1959 Ferry to Hong Kong (Kenneth V. Jones) 1959 Expresso Bongo (uncredited Robert Farnon) 1961 Amazons of Rome (Marcel Landowski) https://youtu.be/lPa8UpA1Iyw 1961 Flame in the Streets (Philip Green) https://youtu.be/ud8hlfAF-tI 1961 Victim (Philip Green) 1962 The Quare Fellow (Alexander Faris) https://youtu.be/ap-CB3Zi-oY 1963 The Punch and Judy Man (Don Banks & Derek Scott) https://youtu.be/Ly93_a6JvEs 1963 The World Ten Times Over (Edwin Astley) the top-billed star 1964 East of Sudan (Laurie Johnson) https://youtu.be/HTCjC6iMm84
Finally caught up with ICE COLD IN ALEX, which I sort of remembered from a childhood encounter with the butchered U.S. version called DESERT ATTACK. All I recalled of the latter was the poor nurse (not Syms) dying from a belly wound. While the full version has many merits, and Syms does share a brief moment of mutual attraction with John Mills, I could not help being amused by the the way the publicity still enhances the nurse's desert uniform in the direction of dubious décolleté.
Sorry she is no longer with us. I recall in particular the numerous films I saw theatrically starring Sylvia Syms in the 1950s such "The Moonraker", "Ice Cold in Alex", "Bachelor of Hearts", "Ferry to Hong Kong" etc. She was quintessentially English in looks and manner.
RiP dear - lovely actress Ice Cold In Alex a favourite war move with Gilbert (Star Wars) Taylor's excellent Cinematography! Also if you listen to the soundtrack while watching there are pieces reminiscing of Holst MARS & later Star Wars.