Sunday, July 17, 2011

Googie Withers, 1917-2011

British actress Googie Withers has died at the age of 94. Her long career started off in the 1930s making small pictures. You might have seen Crown vs. Stevens a few years back, as it was one of the "quota quickies" rescued by TCM made by Warner Bros.' British production arm. The "quota quickies" were movies designed to meet as cheaply as possible a quota on the percentage of British movies a studio showed, so that the Hollywood studios could show their big prestige movies in the UK. The "quota quickies" are about as good as the Hollywood studios' B movies, which means that they range from lousy to surprisingly good; TCM was able to get the broadcast rights to six of them and aired them back in 2008 (I think). Anyhow, Withers' career continued with movies like a small part in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes.

The career really picked up in the 1940s, including roles in such classics as the British horror film Dead of Night. I've recommended Miranda, in which Withers plays the "other woman", and Night and the City, in which Withers has a more substantial role.

Withers could have had a more extensive movie career, but she married an Australian in the late 1940s -- their marriage lasted 62 years until his death a year and a half ago -- and in the 1950s moved down under, concentrating on stage acting instead of the movies.

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