Dame June Whitfield has died at the age of 93.
Her agent confirmed that she passed away ‘peacefully’ on Friday night. She is best known for her roles in Take It From Here, Terry And June and Absolutely Fabulous.
Joanna Lumley, who played Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, called the actress ‘a darling friend’. She told ITV News: ‘I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab. ‘She will always have a most special place in my heart.’ June, who was born in Streatham in 1925, was made an OBE in 1985 and was given a damehood in 2017 for her services to drama and entertainment.
Whitfield has been in acting since the 40s. The actress died ‘peacefully’ in her home on Friday.
She also starred in 12 BBC Radio 4 Agatha Christie adaptations as Miss Marple from 1993 to 2001.
Last year June revealed she moved into a care home after living on her own ‘in a big house for 10 years’ following the death of her husband. ‘Now I have friends where I live and I like it. They’re fun.’
‘I don’t have to worry about things like the roof or the plumber any more.’ Whitfield recently gave an interview saying she couldn’t watch modern TV because she didn’t like the amount of sex and swearing in it. She said: ‘Everything, every channel, it’s either some sex scene or a killing of some kind.
June Whitfield was made a dame in 2017 ‘And where’s the humour gone? You can’t really get a good laugh from television. I do like people like Michael McIntyre, but some of them just spend the whole time swearing.’
Criticising so-called political correctness, she added: ‘You cannot make a joke about anybody’. June starred in Doctor Who as Minnie Hooper for David Tennant’s final episode The End Of Time in 2009. She also had a brief role in EastEnders as a nun in 2015 and 2016. With Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous.
The actress joined sitcom Absolutely Fabulous in 1992 as the mother of Jennifer Saunders’ character Edina most recently appearing in the film version in 2016. BBC producer Jon Plowman, who worked on Absolutely Fabulous, paid tribute to June on Twitter saying: ‘Very sad at the news of the death of the wonderful June Whitfield . ‘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 decade. A great loss.’ Whitfield was married to Tim Aitchison from 1955 until his death in 2001. She is survived by her daughter Suzy.