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Saturday 25 March 2017

Actress Googie Withers dies aged 94

Actress Googie Withers, who has died aged 94
Actress Googie Withers, who has died aged 94

British actress Googie Withers, who was best known for her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes, has died at her home in Australia aged 94.

Born Georgette Lizette Withers in what was then British India, she was given her lifetime nickname by her Indian nanny.

Her family moved back to Britain where she began acting at age 12. She was a dancer in a West End production in London when she was offered work in 1935 as a film extra in The Girl In The Crowd.

Soon after starting work, director Michael Powell fired one of the female leads and she stepped into the role.

Withers appeared in dozens of films in the 1930s and 40s, but was probably best known for her role as Blanche in The Lady Vanishes, playing opposite Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave.

In 1958, Withers moved to Australia with her husband, Australian actor John McCallum. The couple co-starred in 10 popular films together, and they lived in Sydney until McCallum died last year aged 91.

Theatre producer John Frost said Withers and her husband were known both for their glamour and work ethic. "She was an extraordinary person, and John and Googie together were probably the last of a breed of actor-manager and wife team to tour the world and work constantly," Mr Frost told Australia's ABC television news.

"I think it's the end of a golden era with the two of them passing now, and in particular Googie."

Withers was the first non-Australian to be made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1980, and she was appointed a CBE in 2002.

Her last role was in the 1996 Australian movie Shine, for which Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar. She is survived by her three children.Ac

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