CELEBRATED Shakespearean actor Jeffrey Dench, the brother of Dame Judi, has died.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Dench, who was educated at St Peter's School and spent many years in rep theatre in York before going on to forge a successful career with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford.

He died on Thursday, March 27 at the age of 85.

Mr Dench joined the RSC in 1963. His final performance for the company was beside his sister Judi in Merry Wives: The Musical in 2006.

The production was directed by the RSC's Artistic Director Gregory Doran, Artistic Director, who said:

"It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Jeffery Dench.

"Jeffery worked for the RSC over five decades. He joined the company in its early days and took part in many of its greatest hits from Peter Hall and John Barton’s history cycle, The Wars of the Roses to Trevor Nunn’s Nicholas Nickleby.

"Jeffery was the kind of actor that made the RSC what it is: he did not necessarily always play the leading roles, but proved by his presence that the company’s vitality lies in its strength on depth."