Actress Billie Whitelaw, CBE, died December 21 at the age of 82. Famous as Samuel Beckett’s “muse” – he wrote many of his more experimental plays specifically for her – she also appeared in such genre productions as The Omen, where she played Mrs. Baylock, the guardian of the demon child Damien.
Whitelaw started as a child actress in radio, then moved into television in 1952, playing the maid, Martha Sowerby, the BBC’s adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale, The Secret Garden. (She also appeared a 1987 TV movie adaptation of the novel, in a different role.)
Her genre work included Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a 1968 TV movie with Jack Palance and Torin Thatcher, single episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood and Space:1999, roles in Supernatural, Merlin, The Cloning of Joanna May (a TV movie), and a voice-only role in The Dark Crystal.
[Thanks to James H. Burns for the story.]