Dame June Whitfield, accomplished British thespian and “Gran” from Absolutely Fabulous, has left us. She was 93, and the BBC reports that she died peacefully in her sleep. This is sad because anyone related to AbFab dying means they can’t appear in any future episodes. AbFab should be forever. AbFab is what got some of us through the late 90s. And Dame June as the lovable, flaky, “thieving old person” Gran was perfection. It probably wasn’t easy playing opposite comedy icons Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as acid-tongued fashion desperate Edina Monsoon and her icy, vodka-soaked sidekick Patsy Stone. But Whitfield pulled it off and then some. Gran can’t be gone! *wails*
Dame June was made a dame only last year and collected the honor from Prince Charles. Couldn’t they have given it to her sooner so she could proudly announce her name whenever someone at a bank or take-out place asked it?
She was born and raised in London and had a career that spanned decades in British radio, movies, and television. Shane Allen of BBC Comedy described her as “the North Star of British comedy.” Dude was a fan.
“Her spectacular career is unparalleled in its longevity, with seven decades of being a key element in numerous high profile and successful shows. She was the go-to female comedy performer of her generation and was always in demand from the cream of British comedy.”
Julie Sawahala, who played her granddaughter Saffy on AbFab, tweeted about her passing.
Thank you #damejunewhitfield,for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity.I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my https://t.co/2wc2G3bQ0G were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.???
— Julia Sawalha (@JuliaSawalha1) December 29, 2018
Joanna Lumley also spoke about Dame June.
Fellow Ab Fab actress Joanna Lumley told ITV news she was “heartbroken to lose such a darling friend”, who would “always have a most special place in my heart”.
She said she would never forget “her sensational talent, humour and her generosity”.
Whitfield was also widely known for starring on the British sitcom Terry and June from 1979 to 1987 with her former comedy partner Terry Stone. One of her final roles, besides 2016’s AbFab movie, was as a nun on famed British soap Eastenders at age 89.
Arreevadurkey and rest in peace, Gran.