Dame June Whit­field, 1925-2018

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front Page - By Jamie Mer­rill

Comic ac­tress Dame June Whit­field has died aged 93. The star en­joyed a ca­reer stretch­ing back to the 1940s, in­clud­ing roles in the Carry On films and the long-run­ning sit­com Terry And June.

DAME JUNE WHIT­FIELD, who de­lighted tele­vi­sion and ra­dio au­di­ences for eight decades, has died aged 93.

The comic ac­tress en­joyed a ca­reer stretch­ing back to the 1940s, in­clud­ing roles in the Carry On films and the sit­coms Terry And June and Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous.

Dame June’s agent said last night that she “passed away peace­fully” on Fri­day night.

She was granted an OBE in the 1985 Birthday Hon­ours, and a CBE in 1998. She was made a dame in 2017 for her ser­vices to drama and en­ter­tain­ment in her lengthy ca­reer.

Trib­utes to her long and suc­cess­ful ca­reer in com­edy were quick to come in from fel­low stars last night.

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.”

Miranda Hart tweeted to say that Dame June’s death was “so very sad” and that the star had spon­sored one of Hart’s first per­for­mances at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe.

Hart said: “Fif­teen years later when I met her she had all my let­ters and the notes of the show she spon­sored. I cried then too.”

Jon Plow­man, the tele­vi­sion pro­ducer, who worked with Dame June on Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous and the 2016 film ver­sion, tweeted: “There was no one with more warmth or a bet­ter abil­ity to just ‘place’ a line, al­ways an act of ut­ter pre­ci­sion. Hit af­ter hit! Take It From Here, Terry And June, Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous over seven decades. A great loss,” he said.

Dame June was born in Streatham, south Lon­don, in 1925 and was evac­u­ated from the cap­i­tal dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. She grad­u­ated from the Royal Academy Of Dra­matic Art prior to the end of the con­flict, and her ca­reer in en­ter­tain­ment be­gan with West End stage work.

Her first big break came on ra­dio when she ap­peared in Take It From Here in 1953 be­fore part­ner­ing Terry Scott for the first time in 1968 on his sketch show Scott On.

The two had a long part­ner­ship on screen, with five years as a mar­ried cou­ple in Hap­pily Ever Af­ter and eight more years in Terry And June.

Dame June was praised for her roles as the fe­male com­pan­ion to some of the era’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 long ca­reer.

Shane Allen, con­troller of BBC Com­edy, said: “She was the go-to fe­male com­edy per­former of her gen­er­a­tion and was al­ways in de­mand from the cream of Bri­tish com­edy.”

Dame June met her hus­band Tim Aitchi­son in the 1950s. The pair went on to have a daugh­ter, Suzy, who fol­lowed in her mother’s foot­steps and be­came an ac­tress.

She called her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy ...and

June Whit­field, in a nod to fact that she al­ways got sec­ond billing.

“The great­est of show busi­ness mys­ter­ies,” De­nis Nor­den once said, “was how any­one could con­tem­plate do­ing a com­edy show with­out June Whit­field.”

Dame June Whit­field in Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous (above left) with Jennifer Saun­ders, Ju­lia Sawalha and Joanna Lum­ley; with Terry Scott in Terry And June (above); and in Carry On Abroad (right)

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