Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Godspeed Dame June Whitfield

Dame June Whitfield, who appeared in several "Carry On..." movies and starred on such TV shows as Happily Ever After, Terry and June, Last of the Summer Wine, and Absolutely Fabulous, died on December 28 2018 at the age of 93.

Dame June Whitfield was born on November 11 1925 in Streatham, London. Her mother enrolled her in the Robinson School of Dancing, Elocution, Pianoforte, and Singing when she was only three. She was only five years old when she made her stage debut in a play. She attended Streatham Hill High School until she was evacuated to Bognor Regis during World War II. There she attended St. Michael's School. She was later evacuated to Penzance. Afterwards her parents moved to Huddersfield. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1944.

In the Forties she worked with actor Wilfrid Pickles on the West End and elsewhere. She made her film debut in an uncredited role in Quiet Weekend in 1946. She appeared in another uncredited role in The 20 Questions Murder Mystery in 1950. In 1951 she made her television debut on an episode of The Passing Show. In 1953 she replaced Joy Nichols on the hit radio show Take It From Here. In the Fifties she was a regular on the TV shows Fast and Loose, The Tony Hancock Show, and Before Your Very Eyes. She guest starred on such shows as Jack Hylton Presents; Yes, It's the Cathode-Ray Tube Show!; Hancock's Half Hour; Dixon of Dock Green; My Pal Bob; On with the Show; It's Saturday Night; and Arthur's Treasured Volumes. She made her first appearance in a "Carry On..." film in 1959 with Carry On Nurse. She appeared in the film Friends and Neighbours (1959).

In the Sixties she was a regular on the TV shows The Seven Faces of Jim, Six More Faces of Jim, More Faces of Jim, How to Be an Alien, Baxter On..., Call It What You Like, Mild and Bitter, Hancock's, Beggar My Neighbour, and The Best Things in Life. She guest starred on such shows as Benny Hill, Steptoe and Son, The Big Noise, Frankie Howard, Never a Cross Word, Father Dear Father; Harry Worth; The Fossett Saga; Armchair Theatre; and According to Dora. She appeared in the film The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966).

In the Seventies Dame June was a regular on the TV shows The Dick Emery Show and Happily Ever After. She guest starred on The Goodies, Whoops Baghdad!, Bless This House,. The Morecambe & Wise Show, Jackanory, Cannon and Ball, and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. She appeared in the films The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971), Bless This House (1972), Carry On Abroad (1972), Carry On Girls (1973), and Not Now, Comrade (1976).

In the Eighties she starred on the show Terry and June. She was a regular on the shows Roland the Rat: the Series and Cluedo. She guest starred on such shows as Minder, Sharing Time, and The Sooty Show. In the Nineties she played Eddy's mother on Absolutely Fabulous, a role she would play into the Teens. She guest starred on such shows as Out of Sight, Friends, Brambly Hedge, Rex the Runt, and Days Like These. She appeared in the films Carry On Columbus (1992) and Jude (1996).

Throughout the Naughts she played Nelly on Last of the Summer Wine. She guest starred on the shows The Royal, Dirty Tricks, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, New Tricks, Children in Need, Harley Street, Kingdom, Doctor Who, and Coronation Street. She appeared in the film Innocent (2009).  In the Teens she appeared in the films Run for Your Wife (2012) and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016). She guest starred on the shows Midsomer Murders, Jonathan Creek, Topsy and Tim, EastEnders, and Boomers.

If Dame June Whitfield was just so prolific as an actress, it was because she was just so very good. Dame June had a gift for comedy, with absolutely perfect timing. She was also rather versatile. She could play everything from middle aged housewife June Medford to Mother on Absolutely Fabulous to God herself on the miniseries You, Me and the Apocalypse. Dame June Whitfield was in demand throughout her career precisely because she was so very talented.

No comments: