A notable British film and stage actress in England where she grew up and Australia which would become her adopted home, Googie Withers became best known for a series of melodramas at Ealing Studios i...
The Wire star landed the Best Actor prize for his role in U.K. series Appropriate Adult, a reconstruction of the police investigation into the notorious murderer, while his co-star Emily Watson won Best Actress for playing Janet Leach, who sat in on the interviews Fred West gave to cops.
As he collected his award, West said, "I hope she (Leach) has had some closure and I hope she feels we honoured the suffering she endured and the suffering of all of West's victims, living and dead."
Watson appeared emotional as she gave her winner's speech and told the BBC after the ceremony, "It was such a disturbing place to go. In my speech I was very overwhelmed I forgot to thank Janet Leach, she gave very generously to us.
"The public perception of the West case is a tabloid-driven view and then I read the script and it was a very intelligent piece full of integrity. It's a deep abyss right in the middle of our society."
Appropriate Adult enjoyed a triple win at the London ceremony - Monica Dolan won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Rosemary West, Fred West's wife. Sherlock's Andrew Scott fought off competition from his co-star Martin Freeman to win Best Supporting Actor.
Beloved Australian entertainer Rolf Harris was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in honour of his lengthy career, and as he was applauded he declared, "Thank you so much, that's very moving", before adding, "How nice to be presented with this... I can't begin to tell you just how humbled I am by being here in this distinguished company, so many previous recipients of this BAFTA Fellowship."
Other winners included Shane Meadows' This Is England 88, which took the Best Mini-Series prize, Doctor Who writer Stephen Moffat, who received a Special BAFTA for "outstanding creative writing contribution to television", and Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders (Female Performance in a Comedy Programme).
The ceremony also featured a memorial segment, remembering the stars lost in the past 12 months, including Davy Jones, actresses Anna Massey, Googie Withers and Betty Driver, presenters Jimmy Savile and Bob Holness, actors Peter Falk, George Baker and Colin Tarrant, and comedian Frank Carson.
Presenters at the ceremony included West, actresses Helen McCrory, Melissa George and Emilia Fox, and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith, Sam Claflin and Timothy Spall.
The star, born Georgette Lizette Withers, passed away at her home in Sydney, Australia on Friday (15Jul11). No further information was available as WENN went to press.
Withers was working as a dancer in London's West End when she was asked to be an extra in the 1935 movie The Girl in the Crowd - but she ended up with a main role after director Michael Powell fired a lead actress.
She went on to rack up credits in films such as The Gang's All Here and One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, and also appeared on Broadway.
But she will be best remembered for playing Blanche in Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes, opposite Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave.
Withers was the first non-Australian to be made an Officer of the Order of Australia and she was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2002.
She married Australian actor John McCallum, who helped create the cult TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
They had three children and lived together in Sydney until McCallum's death last year (10).
Played Amanda in a British revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives"
Featured as one of Margaret Lockwood's friends in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes"
Starred in one of her most memorable films, "It Always Rains on Sunday"
Returned to the stage to star in "They Came to a City"
First miniseries work, the PBS biopic, "Melba"
Returned to features to play the leading role in "Nickel Queen"; directed by husband, John McCallum
Last screen performance, played a mentor to the teenaged piano prodigy David Helfgott in "Shine"
First Australian stage work included "Winter Journey" and "The Constant Wife"
Appeared in ITV's adaptation of "Ending Up"
Emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s with her husband John McCallum
Starred in the BBC adaptation of "Hotel du Lac"
Stage acting debut, "The Windmill Man"
Known for her role as the devious Helen Nosseross in "Night and the City"
Film debut, "The Girl in the Crowd"
New York stage debut, "The Complaisant Lover"
Last film for over 15 years, "Port of Escape"
Co-starred with her husband (playing brother and sister) in the London revival of "Lady Windermere's Fan"
Again returned to features for the TV-film, "Time After Time"; also received a theatrical distribution
Returned to features again to act in "Country Life"
A notable British film and stage actress in England where she grew up and Australia which would become her adopted home, Googie Withers became best known for a series of melodramas at Ealing Studios in the 1940s and proved herself a versatile character player in her later years. She was born to a British career officer and a Dutch mother in a part of India that later became Pakistan. Withers was convent-educated in England, and studied acting and dancing before her stage debut in 1929. While she kept busy in theater during the 1930s, she also broke into films in 1934 with "The Girl in the Crowd". In the mid-30s, she cut back on her stage work to concentrate on her film career, but was confined mostly to second leads in both fairly big films and near "quota quickies" made to fulfill Britain's self-imposed Quota Law. She supported Dolores Del Rio and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in "Accused" (1936), acted for Michael Powell in the likable low-budgeter "The Love Test" (1935) and played one of Margaret Lockwood's giggly girlfriends in Alfred Hitchcock's superb "The Lady Vanishes" (1938).
Withers finally had better luck in the days of WWII. She starred onstage in "They Came to a City" (1943) which she reprised on film the following year, and attracted attention via films including Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's striking "One of Our Aircraft Is Missing" (1942). Withers would become one of the ideal Ealing Studios heroines, capable of being offbeat, classy and glamorous yet also possessing intriguing rough edges which could work in both comedy and working-class drama. She played the ever-battling lover Amanda in a 1945 stage revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives," and a number of film roles called for similar bouts of bitchiness, assertiveness or duplicity. Withers was part of the superb quartet anchoring the sparkling comedy of manners "On Approval" (1943), was fine as a wife whose husband is possessed by a haunted mirror in one of the best stories in the classic horror anthology "Dead of Night" (1945), and plotted to poison a husband in the truly odd and noirish costume drama "Pink String and Sealing Wax" (1945). Her forte for proletarian heroines came to the fore in "The Loves of Joanna Godden" (1947), as a woman farmer, and she was at her best in Robert Hamer's key postwar noir "It Always Rains on Sunday" (1947), which beautifully teamed her with future husband John McCallum.
Withers and McCallum would work together in several more films, and she also did the popular if silly "Miranda" (1948), but the film was handed to mermaid Glynis Johns. The hospital drama "White Corridors" (1952) was popular as well, but Withers was rather underutilized in "Night and the City" (1950), a visually striking noir which gave most of the footage to visiting US stars. Withers' starring career gradually petered out in the mid-1950s, but she continued with stage work. She and McCallum relocated to Australia at the end of the decade. Several dozen stage appearances in Australia, England and even the US kept her busy from the 60s on, as did TV work. She returned to features to play the leading role in "Nickel Queen" (1971), directed by her husband, and still later began to appear regularly on PBS and BBC dramas and miniseries, including "Melba" (1989) and "Ending Up" (1993), in the latter as part of a sterling ensemble of gracefully aging British star veterans. She gave an award-winning performance in "Time After Time" (1985), made for TV but also given theatrical release, and the 90s saw increased feature work from Australia as well. "Country Life" (1994) was a handsome Chekhov adaptation, and Withers teamed well with Noah Taylor (as the teenaged David Helfgott) for the character-driven drama "Shine" (1996).