Billie Whitelaw

Billie Whitelaw

Infobox actor

imagesize = 150px
name = Billie Whitelaw
birthname = Billie Whitelaw
birthdate = Birth date and age|1932|6|6|df=yes
location = flagicon|England Coventry, England, United Kingdom
deathdate =
deathplace =
othername =
yearsactive = 1950 - 2002/ 2007
spouse = Peter Vaughan (1952-1966)
Robert Muller (1967-1998)
homepage =
academyawards =
goldenglobeawards =
baftaawards = Best Supporting Actress
1969 "Charlie Bubbles"
1969 "Twisted Nerve"
Best Actress
1973 "The Sextet"

Billie Whitelaw, CBE (born June 6, 1932) is a distinguished English actress of both stage and film. The actress has won multiple BAFTA awards and Evening Standard British Film Awards for her film work and has appeared in many prestigious theatrical productions in a career spanning more than fifty years.

One of the most notable aspects of her diverse acting career has been her renowned twenty-five year collaboration with Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. Whitelaw is regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of his works, and continues to gives lectures on her experiences working with Beckett. Their collaboration has produced some of the most distinctive and innovative techniques in experimental theatre. In 1991, Whitelaw was awarded the CBE.


Early life

Whitelaw was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, the daughter of Frances Mary (née Williams) and Gerry Whitelaw. [ [ Billie Whitelaw Biography (1932-) ] ] She grew up in a disadvantaged neighborhood and attended the Thornton Grammar School in Bradford. At age 11, she began performing as a child actor on radio programs and later worked as an assistant stage manager at a provincial theatre.

Film career

After training at RADA, Whitelaw made her stage debut at age 18 in London 1950. She made her film debut in "The Sleeping Tiger" (1954), followed by roles in "Carve Her Name With Pride" (1958) and "Hell is a City" (1959). Whitelaw soon became a regular in British films of the 1950s and early 1960s. In her early film work she specialized in blousy blondes and secretaries, but her dramatic range began to emerge by the late 1960s. She starred alongside Albert Finney in "Charlie Bubbles" (1967), a performance which won her a BAFTA award as Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She would win her second BAFTA as the sensuous mother of college student, Hayley Mills in the disturbing psychological study "Twisted Nerve" (1969). She continued to add memorable roles to notable films including "Leo the Last" (1970), "Gumshoe" (1971), and the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Frenzy" (1972).

Whitelaw gained international acclaim for her chilling role as Mrs. Baylock, the evil guardian of the demon child Damien in "The Omen" (1976). Her performance was considered one of the most memorable of the film, winning her the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress. Other notable films included the hopelessly naive Mrs. Hall in "Maurice" (1987), one of two sisters, with Joan Plowright, struggling to survive in war-time Liverpool in "The Dressmaker" (1988), the fiercely domineering and protective mother of psychopathic twin murderers in "The Krays" (1990), a performance that earned her a BAFTA nomination, and the blind laundress in "Quills" (2000). She returned to film, in a comedic turn, as one of the village residents in "Hot Fuzz" (2007). According to Simon Pegg, his wife accidentally referred to her as "Willie Bitelaw".

amuel Beckett

In 1963, Billie Whitelaw met the famed Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. She and Beckett enjoyed an intense professional relationship until his death in 1989. He wrote many of his more experimental plays especially for her, referring to Whitelaw as "A Perfect Actress". Whitelaw became Beckett's muse, as he created, reworked and revised each play while she physically, at times to the point of total exhaustion, acted out each movement. She would explain in lectures on how "He used me as a piece of plaster he was molding until he got just the right shape". [ [ An Outsider in His Own Life ] ] They collaborated and performed plays such as "Play", "Eh Joe", "Krapp's Last Tape", " Happy Days", "Not I", "Footfalls" and "Rockaby" for both stage and screen. Although other actresses have attempted Beckett's plays, Whitelaw remains the foremost interpreter of the man and his work.

Television career

Whitelaw has also appeared frequently on television and won acclaim for her work. She won a BAFTA award as Best Actress for her performance in "The Sextet" (1972), the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy's "Wessex Tales" (1973), "A Tale of Two Cities" (1980), "A Murder of Quality" (1991), "Jane Eyre" (1996), "Merlin" (1998), and "A Dinner of Herbs" (2000).

Personal life

Married first to the actor Peter Vaughan, whom she divorced, Whitelaw later married writer and drama critic Robert Muller with whom she had a son. Her autobiography, "Billie Whitelaw... Who He?," was published by St. Martin's Press (published in 1996). Whitelaw currently lives in Hampstead, London and continues to work on stage, films and television. She regularly gives lectures on the Beckettian technique.

Her son, who had lent Edgar Wright the use of his flat for "Shaun of the Dead", persuaded his mother to come out of retirement and accept the role of Joyce Cooper in "Hot Fuzz". [cite web | author = Paul Fischer | title = Interview: Edgar Wright for Hot Fuzz | publisher = Dark Horizons | date = 2007-04-09 | url = | accessdate = 2007-05-18]

A photo of her is on the cover of the Smiths' double A-side 'William, It Was Really Nothing/How Soon Is Now?'. Whitelaw also had an affair with actor Albert Finney while he was married to Jane Wenham.Fact|date=March 2008


*"Hot Fuzz" (2007)
*"Jane Eyre (1996)Grace Poole
*"The Krays" (1990)
*"Terror in the Aisles" (1984)
*"Camille" (1984) (TV)
*"The Dark Crystal" (1982) (voice)
*"Private Schulz" (1980)
*"The Water Babies" (1978)
*"The Omen" (1976)
*"Night Watch" (1973)
*"Frenzy" (1972)
*"The Adding Machine" (1969)
*"Twisted Nerve" (1968)
*"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (TV)
*"Payroll" (1961)
*"Make Mine Mink" (1960)
*"No Love for Johnnie" (1960)
*"Breakout" (1959)
*"Dixon of Dock Green" (1955) (TV)


External links

*imdb name|id=0925794|name=Billie Whitelaw
* [ Video of Billie Whitelaw performing Beckett's "Not I"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Billie Whitelaw — Billie Honor Whitelaw, CBE (* 6. Juni 1932 in Coventry, England) ist eine britische Schauspielerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Filmografie (Auszug) 3 Auszeichnungen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Billie Whitelaw — est une actrice anglaise, née le 6 juin 1932 à Coventry. Filmographie sélective 1953 : La Galerie du mystère de Godfrey Grayson : Serveuse 1954 : Companions in Crime 1954 : La bête s éveille : Réceptionniste… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Whitelaw — is the name of:* a village, Whitelaw, Wisconsin * a politician, William Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw * an actress, Billie Whitelaw * a cricketer, Paul Whitelaw * a novelist, photographer and freelance journalist, Sonny Whitelaw * a newspaper… …   Wikipedia

  • Whitelaw — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Billie Whitelaw (* 1932), britische Schauspielerin Robert Henry Whitelaw (1854–1937), US amerikanischer Politiker William Whitelaw, 1. Viscount Whitelaw (1918–1999), britischer Politiker (Conservative… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Billie — ist ein Vorname. Träger des Namens sind unter anderem: Billie Joe Armstrong, (* 1972), US amerikanischer Musiker und Frontmann der Punkband Green Day Billie Asch (1909 1976), US amerikanische Leichtathletin Billie Burke, (1884 1970), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Billie — may refer to:People*Billie Joe Armstrong, vocalist and guitarist of Green Day *Billie Burke, actress *Billie Holiday, singer *Billie Jean King, tennis player *Billie Livingston, Canadian Author *Billie Myers, singer of Kiss The Rain *Billie Piper …   Wikipedia

  • Not I — This article is about the play. For the restriction enzyme NotI, see restriction enzyme. Photo of Lisa Dwan, Battersea Arts Centre © Allan Titmuss Not I is a twenty minute dramatic monologue written in 1972 (March 20 to April 1) by Samuel Beckett …   Wikipedia

  • Rockaby — is a short, one woman play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in 1980, in English, at the request of Daniel Labeille who produced it on behalf of Programs in the Arts, State University of New York, for a festival and symposium in commemoration of… …   Wikipedia

  • Footfalls — is a play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English, between 2 March and December 1975 and was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre as part of the Samuel Beckett Festival, on May 20, 1976 directed by Beckett himself. Billie Whitelaw, for …   Wikipedia

  • Maurice (film) — Maurice Theatrical release poster Directed by James Ivory Pro …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.