actress

e June Whit was a constant presence in post-w comedy.

Often playing the fe stooge to some of Britn’s most famous entertners, she ced herself “a comic’s tt”.

But after si decades on and tele, she established herself as a in her own right.

The ress always sd she was “very bad at getting round to ”.

But from her roles in the 1950s, through to her scatty antics on Absolutely Fabulous, she made more than 1,300 eances on and .

June Rosemy Whit was born in Streatham, south on 11 November 1925.

Her father was a telephone eecutive, her m an amateur ress who pushed her ng daughter into tics and dancing.

Frank Muir
caption By the mid 1950s she was one of ’s biggest s

Trned at Rada, to which she atd her hd ethic, Whit took her professional ing job in 1944.

She was in demand on , and later tele, and her and vied eer made for some surprising connections.

When she ea in the ion Ace of Clubs, she was befriended by the show’s creator, Noel Cowd, and spent weekends at his glamorous country .

Later she joined the chorus line of South Pacific, with its n My Mtin, dating the ’s ng son, a pre-Das Lry Hagman.

Second billing

, her husband of 46 yes, Tim tchison, was not from the same industry, but a chte surveyor.

Whit’s ability to conjure up chers and superb sense of comic timing kept her in demand from across the entire canon of comedy.

s such as Tony , Frankie Howerd, Ronnie Bker, Benny Hill, Bob Monk and Tommy Cooper clamou to with her.

South Pacific
caption She was always the versatile kick

She ced her autobiography …and June Whit, in recognition of the f that she always got second billing.

“The est of show mysteries,” Denis Norden once sd, “was how anyone could contemplate doing a comedy show without June Whit.”

With Frankie Howerd, she recorded a version of the song Je T’me, but even their spoof, complete with ironic heavy breathing, was con too risque for the and was famously banned by the .

Her most memorable role was in The Glums, Frank Muir and Denis Norden’s spoof soap, pt of the show Take It From .

Chemistry

For seven yes as the -suffering Eth, her most oft-hed line was the lamenting “Ooh, Ron”, aded to her hapless fiance.

And for two decades, she read the s Huddlines for her - friend and colleague Roy Hudd, in ’s est-running audience comedy.

Her ring role came in the sitcom Begg My Neighbour in 1966.

Tim Aitchison
caption Terry and June: a gentle of comedy

She went on to form her ing relationship with Terry Scott in Scott On….. before the pr ed up agn for Terry and June.

The chemistry between the unflable Whit and her he-brned husband was so solid that many ers believed they were mried in .

Described as the apotheosis of undemanding, middle-class, comedy, Terry and June attred audiences of 15 million during its eight-ye run.

Whit described herself as living “in the suburban corner, in and in the pts I’ve played. Very English, and nothing wrong with that”.

Unlikely icon

She also became the face of a string of adverts for Birds Eye frozen ready meals with the chline: “It can make a dishonest woman of .”

Her big eances d four ry On films, and, in 1996, the pt of Aunt Drusilla in a film adaptation of Thomas Hdy’s Jude the Obscure

“The ry Ons were a nudging sort of humour, like post,” she sd. “Not at politicy correct, which was always a good thing.”

Tony Hancock
caption She played serious roles, as Aunt Drusilla in Jude

In 1992, she became an unlikely icon to a generation of fans with her portrayal of Edina’s unly m in the internationy ful Absolutely Fabulous.

Originy scheduled to e in just one episode, she went on to become one of the show’s most chers.

“As Joanna Lumley says, Ab Fab made us born-agn resses,” she commented.

As the century dawned, Whit continued a wide viety of roles including pts in Midsomer s and that retirement for s of a certn generation, Last of the Wine.

Muse

In 2009 she ea in The End of , the Doctor Who episode that was the last for Tennant.

She was awded an OBE in 1985 and CBE in 1998 and, in 2017, became a e.

Despite her , Whit never wanted a role, eplning that she lacked the drive and confidence.

actress
caption She won a generation of fans as the dotty m in Absolutely Fabulous

And as the on- muse to s like and Cooper, she was too awe of the personal cost.

When they died prematurely, she atd this to “the responsibility, the and strn” of rying the show.

Instead, June Whit revelled in her role of versatile kick for three generations of audiences.

She enjoyed enduring ity and , a she described in her autobiography as “full of , affection and laughter, of gigs, gags and a couple of gongs”.

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