Billie Whitelaw

Billie Honor Whitelaw, CBE (born 6 June 1932) is an English actress. She worked in close collaboration with Irish playwright Samuel Beckett for 25 years and is regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of his works. She is also known for her portrayal of Mrs Baylock, the demonic nanny in The Omen. In 1991, Whitelaw was awarded the CBE. Whitelaw was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, the daughter of Frances Mary (née Williams) and Gerry Whitelaw. She grew up in a working class part of the city and later attended Thornton Grammar School in Bradford. At age 11, she began performing as a child actress on radio programmes and later worked as an assistant stage manager at a provincial theatre. 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 (1960). 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.


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