Whitelaw, Billie 1932-

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Whitelaw, Billie 1932-


Born June 6, 1932, in Coventry, Warwickshire, England; daughter of Gerry and Frances Mary (maiden name, Williams) Whitelaw; married Peter Vaughan (an actor), 1952 (divorced, 1966); married Robert Muller (died, May 27, 1998); children: (second marriage) Matthew (a writer). Education: Graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.


Agent—International Creative Management, 10250 Constellation Way, 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067.


Actress. Began career as child actor appearing with Bradford Civic Playhouse Group and BBC radio programs, primarily for children; National Theatre of Great Britain, London, member of company, 1964-67; Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, associate member. Berlin International Film Festival, member of jury, 1970. University of Santa Barbara, regents professor, 1985.


The Society of Friends.

Awards, Honors:

Television Actress of the Year Award, 1960; Best Actress of the Year Award, Society of Film and Television, and Variety Club Silver Heart Award, best actress of the year, both 1960; Film Award nomination, most promising newcomer to leading film roles, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1961, for Hell is a City; National Society of Film Critics Award, best supporting actress, 1969, for Charlie Bubbles; Film Award, best supporting actress, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1969, for Charlie Bubbles and Twisted Nerve; Television Award, best actress, British Academy for Film and Television Arts, for The Sextet; Television Award nomination, best actress, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1974, for "The Withered Arm," Wessex Tales; Variety Club Silver Heart Award, best actress of the year, 1977; Film Award nomination, best supporting actress, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1977, Evening News British Film Award, best actress, 1978, both for The Omen; Drama Desk Award nomination, outstanding one person show, 1984, for Rockabye; Evening Standard British Film Award, best actress, 1989, for The Dressmaker; International Fantasy Film Award, best actress, Fantasporto, and Film Award nomination, best actress in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, both 1991, for The Krays; Appointed Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, 1991.


Stage Appearances:

(Stage debut) Pink String and Sealing Wax, Prince's Theatre, Bradford, England, 1950.

(London debut) Victoire, Hotel Paradiso, Winter Garden Theatre, 1956.

Mag Keenan, Progress to the Park, Theatre Royal, Stratford, England, 1960, then Saville Theatre, London, 1961.

Ensemble, England, Our England (revue), Prince's Theatre, 1962.

Sara Melody, A Touch of the Poet, Dublin Festival, then Venice Festival, 1962.

Second woman, Play, National Theatre Company, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1964.

Francischina, The Dutch Courtesan, National Theatre Company, Chichester Festival, Chichester, England, 1964.

Desdemona, Othello, National Theatre Company, Chichester Festival, 1964.

Francischina, The Dutch Courtesan, Old Vic Theatre, 1964.

Maggie Hobson, Hobson's Choice, Old Vic Theatre, 1965.

Avonia Bunn, Trelawny of the Wells, Chichester Festival, then Old Vic Theatre, 1965.

Maggie Hobson, Hobson's Choice, National Theatre Company, Moscow and Berlin, 1965.

Clare, After Haggerty, Royal Shakespeare Company, Criterion Theatre, London, 1971.

Mouth, Not I, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1973, 1975.

Lucy, Alphabetical Order, Hampstead Theatre Club, then May Fair Theatre, both London, 1975.

May, Footfalls, Royal Court Theatre, 1976.

Title role, Molly, Comedy Theatre, London, 1978.

Winnie, Happy Days, Royal Court Theatre, 1979.

Andromache and Athene, The Greeks, Aldwych Theatre, London, 1980.

Eleanor, Passion Play, Aldwych Theatre, 1981, then National Theatre, London, 1982.

Woman, Rockabye, La Mama Theatre, New York City, 1982.

Nellie Mann, Tales from Hollywood, National Theatre, 1983.

Rockabye, Samuel Beckett Theatre, New York City, 1984.

Reader, Enough, Samuel Beckett Theatre, 1984.

May, Footfalls, Samuel Beckett Theatre, 1984.

Also appeared as Desdemona, Othello, National Theatre Company.

Major Tours:

June Hodge, Where There's a Will …., British cities, 1954.

Film Appearances:

Waitress, The Fake, 1953.

Receptionist at Pearce & Mann, The Sleeping Tiger, 1954.

Companions in Crime, 1954.

Room in the House, 1955.

Caroline Mallet, Small Hotel, 1957.

Maggie, Miracle in Soho, 1957.

Winnie, Carve Her Name with Pride, 1958.

(Uncredited) Christine, Gideon's Day (also known as Gideon of Scotland Yard), 1958.

Mary Patterson, The Flesh and the Fiends (also known as The Fiendish Ghouls, Mania, and Psycho Killers), 1959.

Rose Munro, Breakout, 1959.

Lydia, Bobbikins, 1960.

Chloe Hawkins, Hell Is a City, 1960.

Lily, Make Mine Mink, 1960.

Piroska, The Devil's Agent (also known as Im namen des teufels), 1961.

Ernestine, Mr. Topaze (also known as I Like Money), 1961.

Mary, No Love for Johnnie, 1961.

Jackie Parker, Payroll (also known as I Promised to Pay), Allied Artists, 1961.

Judy, The Comedy Man, 1961.

Lottie Bubbles, Charlie Bubbles, Regional, 1968.

Joan Harper, Twisted Nerve, National General, 1969.

Daisy Devore, The Adding Machine, 1969.

Margaret, Leo the Last, 1970.

Queen Marie, Start the Revolution Without Me (also known as Two Time Two), Warner Bros., 1970.

Madame Bertrand, Eagle in a Cage, National General, 1971.

Ellen, Gumshoe, Columbia, 1972.

Hetty Porter, Frenzy, Universal, 1972.

Sarah Cooke, Night Watch, Avco Embassy, 1973.

Auditor/mouth, Not I, 1973.

Mrs. Baylock, The Omen (also known as Omen I, Omen I: The Antichrist, and Omen I: The Birthmark), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1976.

Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby, old crone, Mrs. Tripp, woman in black, and water babies "Gate Keeper," The Water Babies (also known as Slip Slide Adventures) 1978.

Isabel James, Leopard in the Snow, 1978.

Elizabeth Leaming, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, 1981.

Voice of Aughra, The Dark Crystal, Universal, 1982.

Louise, Tangiers (also known as Tanger and Tangier), 1982.

The actress, Rockabye, 1983.

Madge, Slayground, Universal, 1984.

Doctor Cloud, Shadey, 1985.

Margaret Baker, Murder Elite, 1985.

Mrs. Andreos, The Chain, 1985.

Mrs. Hall, Maurice, 1987.

Margo, The Dressmaker, 1988.

Tammy O'Moore, Joyriders, 1989.

Violet Kray, The Krays (also known as The Kray Brothers and The Kray Twins), 1990.

Voice of Messina, Freddie as F.R.O.7 (also known as Freddie the Frog), 1992.

Kate Webster, Deadly Advice, 1993.

Margaret, Skallagrigg, 1994.

Grace Pool, Jane Eyre (also known as Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre"), Miramax, 1996.

Narrator, The Crimean War, 1997.

Mrs. Spitz, The Lost Son, Artisan Entertainment, 1999.

Madame LeClerc, Quills (also known as Quills—Macht der Besessenheit), Fox Searchlight, 2000.

Joyce Cooper, Hot Fuzz, Focus Features, 2007.

Stardust, Paramount, 2007.

Voice of Aughra, The Power of the Dark Crystal (animated), Odyssey Entertainment, 2008.

Television Appearances; Series:

Martha, The Secret Garden, BBC, 1952.

Mary Crawford, Dixon of Dock Green, BBC, 1955.

Jill, My Pal Bob, 1957.

Peggy Spencer, Time Out for Peggy, 1958.

Storyteller, Jackanory, BBC1, 1969.

The Sextet, BBC, 1972.

Lili Flitch, Born to Run, BBC, 1997.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Josephine, Napoleon and Love, PBS, 1974.

Leader of the women, Oresteia (also known as The Serpent Son), BBC, 1979.

Bertha Freyer, Private Schultz, BBC, 1981.

Patience, Jamaica Inn, syndicated, 1985.

Aunt Elsie, Imaginary Friends, Thames, 1987.

Rose Guttridge, Firm Friends, 1992.

Auntie Ambrosia, Merlin, NBC, 1998.

Veronica, Shooting the Past, PBS, 1999.

Herself, Changing Stages, PBS, 2000.

Kate Makepeace, A Dinner of Herbs (also known as Catherine Cookson's "A Dinner of Herbs"), ITV, 2000.

Television Appearances; Movies:

No Trams to Lime Street (also known as Armchair Theatre: No Trams to Lime Street), 1959.

Lena, O My Lena (also known as Armchair Theatre: Lena, O My Lena), 1960.

Marguerite Gautier, Festival: Lady of the Camellias, BBC, 1964.

Gwyn Thomas, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (also known as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), 1968.

Judy Black, Follow the Yellow Brick Road (also known as Sextet: Follow the Yellow Brick Road), BBC, 1972.

Jeanne Saunders, Poet Game, 1972.

Madame Therese Defarge, A Tale of Two Cities, CBS, 1980.

Prudence Duvorney, Camille, CBS, 1984.

Mrs. Medlock, The Secret Garden, CBS, 1987.

Beatrice Llewellyn, The Fifteen Streets, 1989.

Sarah Ridd, Lorna Doone, Thames, 1990.

Mavis, The Cloning of Joanna May, Arts and Entertainment, 1992.

Dorcas, Duel of Hearts, TNT, 1992.

Evelyn, The Last of the Blonde Bombshells, HBO and BBC, 2000.

Also appeared in A World of Time; Happy Days; You and Me; Resurrection; The Fifty Pound Note; Eustace and Hilda; Haunted Man.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Betty Coogan, This Day in Fear, BBC, 1958.

Mad Janie, A Murder of Quality, PBS, 1991.

Voice of Wife of Bath, The Canterbury Tales, HBO Family, 1999.

Herself, The Curse of "The Omen," Channel 4, 2005.

Also appeared in Three Plays by Samuel Beckett.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"The Case of Two Brothers," Stryker of the Yard, 1957.

Brenda, "The Bride of Robin Hood," The Adventures of Robin Hood (also known as Robin Hood), CBS, 1957.

"No Trams to Lime Street," Armchair Theatre, ABC [UK], 1959.

Lena, "Lena Oh My Lena," Armchair Theatre, ABC [UK], 1960.

Rose Munro, "Breakout," Kraft Mystery Theater, NBC, 1961.

Doreen McBride, "He Rises on Sunday and We on Monday," Espionage, ITV and NBC, 1963.

Nancy Harper, "The Pity of It All," Armchair Theatre, ABC [UK], 1966.

Greta, "'Twas on a Sunday," Thirty-Minute Theatre, BBC, 1966.

Rhoda, "The Withered Arm," Wessex Tales, BBC, 1973.

Zamara, "One Moment of Humanity," Space: 1999 (also known as Spazio: 1999), 1976.

Countess Ilona, "Countess Ilona," Supernatural, BBC, 1977.

Countess Ilona, "The Werewolf Reunion," Supernatural, BBC, 1977.

"Last Summer's Child," BBC2 Playhouse, BBC, 1981.

Herself, Masterchef, BBC, 1997.

The wife of Bath, "Leaving London," The Canterbury Tales, BBC and HBO, 1998.

The wife of Bath, "The Journey Back," The Canterbury Tales, BBC and HBO, 2000.

Dorothy Lomax, "Nobody's Fool," Judge John Deed, BBC, 2002.

(Uncredited) Herself, Hell's Kitchen, ITV, 2004.


Music Videos:

Morrissey's "Everyday Is Like Sunday," 1988.

Simply Red's "Never Never Love," 1996.



Billie Whitelaw … Who He? (autobiography), St. Martin's Press (New York), 1996.



American Theatre, April, 1994, p. 24; July-August, 1996, p. 56.

Films in Review, September-October, 1996, p. 89.

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