Billie Whitelaw Billie Whitelaw, CBE (Born June 6th, 1932 in Coventry, Warwickshire, England) is a distinguished British actress for both stage and film and has worked alongside greats such as Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Albert Finney, Peter Sellers, and playwright Samuel Beckett (with whom she collaborated closely on theatrical techniques for twenty-five years). Appearing frequently on television, often in costume dramas such as Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities, Whitelaw has won acclaim for her performances in dramas such as the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Wessex Tales and was awarded the CBE in 1991.
Whitelaw grew up in a disadvantaged neighborhood and attended the Thornton Grammar School in Bradford, England. At age 11, she began performing as a child actor on radio programs and later worked as an assistant stage manager at a provincial theatre. After training at RADA, Whitelaw made her stage debut at age 22 in London 1950.
Making her film debut in "The Sleeping Tiger" (1954) as a secretary, Whitelaw soon becoming a regular in British films of the 1950s and 1960s, her more notable film credits including Charlie Bubbles (1967), Frenzy (written by Anthony Shaffer, dir. by Alfred Hitchcock, 1972), The Omen (1976), The Water Babies (1979), Maurice (based on E. M. Forster's posthumously published novel, dir. by James Ivory, 1987), and The Krays (1990).
Upon meeting in 1963, Whitelaw and famed Irish playwright Samuel Beckett enjoyed an intense professional relationship up until the playwright's death in 1989. Together they collaborated and performed plays such as 'Play', 'Eh Joe', 'Krapp's Last Tape', 'Not I,' 'Footfalls' and 'Rockaby' for both stage and screen. Whitelaw is now regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of his works.
Married first to the actor Peter Vaughan, Whitelaw and Vaughan divorced and she later married writer and drama critic Robert Muller with whom she had a son. Her autobiography, Billie Whitelaw . . . Who He?, published by St. Martin's Press (released in 1996), goes into further detail about her family life; childhood and her professional relationship with playwright Samuel Beckett.
Whitelaw currently resides in Hampstead, London and continues to work on stage, films and television. She regularly gives lectures on the Beckettian technique.