June Whitfield

June Whitfield
June Whitfield DBE (11 November 1925 - 28 December 2018)

June Whitfield was born in London on 11 November 1925. Despite training as a straight actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1944, June always preferred comedy, and has been the perfect partner for some of the greatest names in British comedy, including Tony Hancock.

June made her television debut as a chorus member in the musical series 'The Passing Show' (BBC, 1951), but it was on radio in 1953 that she first made her name, appearing as Eth in 'The Glums', alongside Jimmy Edwards and Dick Bentley. She then went on to appear in numerous TV programmes, working with Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Benny Hill, Arthur Askey, Frankie Howerd, Bob Monkhouse, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, and of course, Terry Scott.

June's long association with Tony Hancock began with regular appearances in his first television series 'The Tony Hancock Show' (ITV, 1956-57), and continued with roles in his BBC series - most memorably as the nurse in the 'Hancock' episode 'The Blood Donor' (BBC, 23/6/1961) She also appeared in his final ITV series 'Hancock's' (ITV, 1967).

June first played Terry Scott's screen wife in 1968 in the 'Scott On...' series (BBC, 1964-74). This evolved into the long-running series 'Happy Ever After' (BBC, 1974-78), for which Scott and Whitfield shared Variety Club Television Personality of the Year awards in 1977. This series was followed by 'Terry and June' (BBC, 1979-87)

June's role as Jennifer Saunders' mother in the successful sitcom 'Absolutely Fabulous' (BBC, 1992-2012) proved, as Whitfield herself declared, a "shot in the arm" to her career. June's other later work was a mixture of comedy and drama, including appearing in the comedy series 'All Rise for Julian Clary' (BBC, 1996-97).

June was awarded the OBE in 1985, CBE in 1998 and DBE in 2017. She also received the British Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Her autobiography, 'And…June Whitfield' was published in 2000.

June died on 28 December 2018, aged 93