Why actress Billie Whitelaw was most at home in west Suffolk
18:30 22 December 2014
A Suffolk neighbour of the actress Billie Whitelaw, who died on Sunday at the age of 82, has described the star of screen and stage as one of the “kindest most considerate people you could ever hope to meet”.
At the height of her career, the acclaimed performer divided her time between a flat in Hampstead, London and a cottage just outside Glemsford in west Suffolk.
Despite achieving enduring fame in high profile roles such as Mrs Baylock in the cult horror film The Omen, Violet Kray in the 1990 movie, The Krays, and most recently in the comedy hit, Hot Fuzz, she was very “down to earth” and “not at all starry” according to her neighbour Lynne Bloomfield.
Whitelaw told her she felt “most at home” in her cottage in Plum Street surrounded by the rural landscape.
Mrs Bloomfield said: “Billie initially used to come here with her husband Robert Muller, who died in 1998, but she kept the cottage on afterwards and kept in touch with me. I only spoke to her quite recently.
“She loved being in Suffolk. She used to shop locally in the village and was never any different wherever she went. “She absolutely loved the countryside round here and she told me there was really nothing she liked better than to look out of the kitchen window of her cottage over the fields or into her garden – it was a kind of escape from the more hectic part of her life.”
Mrs Bloomfield said many people in the Glemsford and Cavendish area would be very sad to hear of the actress’s passing.
She added: “She was a very kind considerate person. She never put on any airs and graces and was just Billie Whitelaw whenever she was here.”
Born in 1932 in Coventry, Whitelaw made her first stage appearance in Bradford in 1950.
During her career, she was awarded two Baftas, in 1969 and 1973. She also appeared in several popular TV series, including Dixon of Dock Green, although she was probably best known for her work with the playwright Samuel Beckett.