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Dame June Whitfield: Stars recall generosity and kindness of ‘friendly goddess’

Dame June Whitfield has been remembered for her kindness and generosity by a host of stars (PA file)
Dame June Whitfield has been remembered for her kindness and generosity by a host of stars (PA file)

Dame June Whitfield has been warmly remembered for her kindness and generosity by stars sharing their experiences of meeting and working with her, often early in their careers.

The veteran actress, who has died aged 93, was described as “humble”, a “friendly goddess” and having “the warmest heart” by a string of big names including Emma Bunton and Miranda Hart.

Spice Girl Bunton, who appeared alongside Dame June in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie in 2016, said her late co-star was “such an incredible lady”.

“I was so nervous working with her but she had a way of making you feel comfortable and special.
Thank you Dame June Whitfield,” she said on Twitter.

In a touching tweet, Hart recalled meeting Dame June, who once took a chance on the future award-winning comedian by backing one of her shows.

She wrote: “I once sent a letter to many actors as a budding (I mean desperate) comedy actor to ask for sponsorship for the Edinburgh Festival. Dame June replied. Fifteen years later when I met her she had all my letters and the notes of the show she sponsored. I cried then too.”

Fellow BBC comic Katy Brand shared an anecdote of meeting Dame June in unusual circumstances while working as an 18-year-old runner on a television show.

She wrote on Twitter: “I had to check her dressing room was ready. Being an idiot, I barged in without knocking. She was standing in her underwear, mid-change. She winked at me. She didn’t get me sacked. RIP.”

Writer Jack Monroe remembered working with Dame June for the dramatisation of her first book, A Girl Called Jack, on Radio 4.

She tweeted: “She played my Nan. She had no airs nor graces, arrived on public transport, and her only rider was a bag of ready salted crisps. She was kind and humble and generous and warm. x”

They were among a stream of stars posting tributes to Dame June, whose career in acting spanned eight decades.

Jane Horrocks, who starred alongside her on Ab Fab, remembered a “versatile, funny and generous” actress.

Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth said he was “heartbroken” by the death of his friend, adding on Twitter: “There was no one nicer.”

Comedian Jenny Eclair tweeted simply: “Beautiful, funny June Whitfield- a friendly Goddess.”

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