Alastair George Bell Sim, CBE, was a Scottish character actor who began his theatrical career at the age of thirty, but quickly became established as a popular West End performer, remaining so until his death in 1976. He also appeared in more than fifty British films, starting in 1935.
After a series of false starts, including a spell as a jobbing labourer and another as a clerk in a local government office, Sim's love of and talent for poetry reading won him several prizes and led to his appointment as a lecturer in elocution at the University of Edinburgh in 1925. He also ran his own private elocution and drama school, from which, with the help of the playwright John Drinkwater, he made the transition to the professional stage in 1930.
Despite his late start, Sim soon became well known on the London stage. A period of more than a year as a member of the Old Vic company brought him wide experience of playing Shakespeare and other classics, to which he returned throughout his career. In the modern repertoire, he formed a close professional association with the author James Bridie, which lasted from 1939 until the dramatist's death in 1951.