Googie Withers, 1930s movie star, dies at 94.

18 Jul


I just picked up a beeb rss feed that Googie Withers has finally pegged-out age 94. Her husband, Australian John McCallum, who helped to create the Australian tv series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, died last year age 91.

I don’t remember her many film roles in the 30’s and 40’s as I’m too young, however I do recall her coming back from Australia in 1970 to star in a London Weekend Television production for the ITV network called “Within these Walls” a slow moving and very boring prison drama produced at a time when LWT had no money but a licence obligation to the IBA regulator to produce drama for the network.

Withers was born Georgette Lizette Withers in what was then British India, Now India looks upon Britain as a province or colony of its own.

She died at home Friday. I recall the LWT series as in 1970/71 I was living in Devonport, Plymouth, when my aunt, who was a fan of Withers, told me about her many screen appearances in the forties.

She was appointed a CBE, and in Australia she was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia.

She had been given her nickname Googie by her Indian nanny.

When the family moved back to the UK she started acting at age 12. She was dancing in a West End production in London in 1935 when she was offered a job as a film extra in a movie called The Girl in the Crowd.

One of her more famous roles was in the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock production The Lady Vanishes where she played the part of Blanch opposite Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave.

Withers co-starred in 10 films with her husband and they lived together in Sydney until McCullum’s death last year. Her last film roll was in the Oscar-nominated 1996 Australian movie Shine.

She also appeared in the BBC’s Hotel de Lac and Northanger Abbey. She had three children, Another door in the history of British Cinema closes.



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