UPDATE Tuesday, 7:00 a.m. with more information, below:
Stage, screen and radio actress Billie Whitelaw was perhaps best known to international audiences for her role as Mrs. Baylock in 1976 horror film The Omen, but she had a versatile career at home in the UK where she was a muse to Samuel Beckett and won BAFTAs for her film and television work. Whitelaw died on Sunday at a London nursing home, her son told the BBC. She was 82. Among her many big-screen credits, which stretch back to 1953, are 1967’s Charlie Bubbles with Albert Finney; 1968’s The Twisted Nerve with Hayley Mills; Alfred Hitchcock’s 1972’s Frenzy; The Omen; 1988’s The Dressmaker with Joan Plowright and Pete Postlethwaite; Peter Medak’s classic biopic The Krays in 1990; and more recently, Edgar Wright’s 2007 Hot Fuzz with Simon Pegg.
Whitelaw was born in 1932 and made her radio acting debut at age 11, per the BBC. Her first television experience was The Secret Garden in 1952 and she went on to dozens of small screen appearances, winning a TV Best Actress BAFTA for 1972’s The Sextet. Her film BAFTA came a few years earlier as Best Supporting Actress for both Twisted Nerve and Charlie Bubbles.
Whitelaw was also keenly known for her association with Beckett, who first wrote the monologue Not I for her in the early 70s, then directed her in such plays as Footfalls (1976), Happy Days (1979) and Rockaby (1981). The pairing of Footfalls and Rockaby provided her unforgettable New York debut in 1982, and other notable Beckett performances soon followed. The Nobel laureate once described her as the “perfect actress.”
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