‘Absolutely Fabulous’ star Dame June Whitfield dead at 93


Dame June Whitfield, who memorably played Gran in Absolutely Fabulous has died aged 93. The comedic actor enjoyed a long career in television and radio which saw her work with some of the greatest comics of the last 50 years.

While many people would instantly recognise Whitfield from her role on Absolutely Fabulous where she played the dottering elderly mother of Edina, and grandmother of Saffron – she had a long career appearing in hundreds of radio and television productions.

Today co-star Joanna Lumley remembered her as “brilliant and gorgeous”, while Julia Sawalha who played her grand daughter on the popular show described her as a great inspiration.

Whitfield was only originally cast to appear in one episode of Ab-Fab, but she made such an impression she was written into the show. She appeared on the first episode of the series in 1992 and was also featured in the 2016 feature film.

In recent times she’s also appeared in Doctor Who, Last of the Summer Wine, Eastenders and long running British soap opera Coronation Street.

Whitfield’s career began in the 1940’s when she appeared on radio and television and was part of the cast of the West End musical South Pacific. Over her long career she appeared regularly with comedians including Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd, Morecambe and Wise, and Benny Hill. She appeared in everything from The Goodies to US comedy Friends. 

She appeared in four of the Carry On films. She had a long professional partnership with actor Terry Scott. The pair appeared in the sitcom Happily Ever After for five years and then went on to star in the long running series Terry and June. 

Alongside her television career Whitfield performed many roles in radio drama series and plays. For many years she played Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple in a series of radio productions.

Whitfield was awarded an OBE in 1985, and given a CBE in the 1988 Queen’s Birthday honours. In 2017 she was made a dame for her services to drama and entertainment.

Whitfield’s family announced she passed away peacefully in her sleep having enjoyed the Christmas period with family members. She was 93 years old.

OIP Staff