Dame June Whitfield, who played the Edina Monsoon’s long-suffering mother on the hit comedy series “Absolutely Fabulous,” died Friday night at her home at the age of 93.
Whitfield’s agent issued a statement saying that she “passed away peacefully last night,” according to The Guardian.
Made an Order of the British Empire in 1985 and made a dame in 2017 for services to drama and entertainment, Whitfield had a long and illustrious show business career. From her early radio appearances in the 1950s to her zany antics on “Absolutely Fabulous,” Whitfield acted in more than 1,300 radio and television shows. She might have been best known for her roles in BBC’s “Terry and June” and “Happy Ever After” in the 1970s and 80s.
“Absolutely Fabulous” actress Joanna Lumley, 72, who played Patsy Stone, told ITV News: “I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab.”
Shane Allen, controller of BBC Comedy, described Whitfield as “the North Star of British comedy,” according to a BBC story.
“Her spectacular career is unparalleled in its longevity, with seven decades of being a key element in numerous high profile and successful shows,” Allen said. “She was the go-to female comedy performer of her generation and was always in demand from the cream of British comedy.”
“Absolutely Fabulous,” which has a giant gay following, introduced Whitfield to a new generation of fans. The British series debuted in 1992 and broadcast its final episode in 2012. An “Absolutely Fabulous” movie came out in 2016.
“Absolutely Fabulous” excelled in uncensored bad behavior and satirical humor of the female lead characters: Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumely), two hard-drinking, drug-taking, completely and outrageously selfish middle-aged women.
Whitfield was given some great deadpan lines as a foil to Saunders’ manic Monsoon character.