Dame June Whitfield, star of Terry and June and cult favourite Absolutely Fabulous, will be sorely missed by everyone at the South London Press.
The Streatham-born actress was a regular fixture on TV and radio for six decades, starring in Carry On films, Hancock’s Half Hour, and even Friends.
June was the stooge to some of Britain’s most famous entertainers and called herself “a comic’s tart”.
She regularly appeared in the pages of the South London Press – so much so, that she backed our campaign for the founder of the South London Press to be honoured with a blue plaque – she agreed James Henderson should have a Southwark Heritage Association blue plaque.
Around the same time, she appeared in EastEnders as Sister Ruth, a nun with a secret about wayward mum Kat Moon. At 92, she was made a dame.
She also presented the gongs at the paper’s Our Heroes Awards in 2010.
She died peacefully on Friday night.
Tributes to her long and successful career in comedy are being made on Twitter.
Julia Sawalha, who played her strait-laced granddaughter in Absolutely Fabulous, said: “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 adoration. You were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.”
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”.
Jane Horrocks, who played the ditzy character Bubble in the comedy, said her former co-star was a “wonderful lady”, who was “versatile, funny and generous”.
Most of Whitfield’s scenes during her three episodes on EastEnders were filmed opposite Jessie Wallace, who tweeted: “A truly great actress and comedy legend. Working with June was a masterclass.”
Impressionist Rory Bremner added: “RIP June Whitfield- go-to comedy actress for 3 generations, from 60s radio to 70s, 80s, even 90s TV.
Always graceful & elegant with a real comic glint in her eye & (absolutely) fabulous timing.”
Jon Plowman, producer of some of the biggest hit comedies of the last 30 years, said: “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.”
She is pictured at the premier of the Absolutely Fabulous movie in 2016.