Monday 21 October 2019

'Ab Fab' actress June Whitfield dies aged 93

Enduring star: June Whitfield had a career over eight decades. Photo: PA
Enduring star: June Whitfield had a career over eight decades. Photo: PA

Jamie Merrill in London

June Whitfield, the well-loved comedy actress whose career spanned eight decades, has died at the age of 93.

Ms Whitfield's agent said that she had "passed away peacefully" on Friday night.

The London-born star, made a dame last year for services to drama and entertainment, began her career on the West End stage in the late 1940s. She went on to roles in the 'Carry On' films and the sitcom 'Terry And June'.

In the BBC hit 'Absolutely Fabulous', she played the mother of Edina Monsoon, played by Jennifer Saunders.

Praised for her roles as the onstage companion to some of the UK's most famous entertainers, she often described herself as a "comic's tart".

But she established herself in a star as her own right, featuring in more than 1,300 radio and television shows across her career.

Tributes to her lengthy and successful time in showbusiness were quick to come in from fellow stars last night.

Impressionist Rory Bremner said: "From Sixties radio to Seventies, Eighties, even Nineties TV.

"Always graceful and elegant with a real comic glint in her eye and (absolutely) fabulous timing."

Her 'Absolutely Fabulous' co-star Julia Sawalha paid a touching tribute to her friend in an online post, tenderly calling the late actress "Gran".

Joanna Lumley, who played Patsy in 'Ab Fab' described herself as "heartbroken" at the news of her friend's death.

She said: "I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to all who had the joy of working with her." (© Daily Telegraph London)

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