‘The Omen’ actress Billie Whitelaw dies, aged 82

BAFTA-winning actress also appeared in 'The Krays' and 'Hot Fuzz'

Acclaimed stage and screen actress Billie Whitelaw has passed away at the age of 82.

Coventry-born Whitelaw’s most famous film role came in the 1976 horror classic The Omen, in which she played demonic nanny Mrs Baylock.

She also played the protective mother of Martin and Gary Kemp’s murderous twin brothers in 1990’s The Krays and won a pair of BAFTAs for her performances in two acclaimed British films of the 1960s: 1967’s Charlie Bubbles opposite Albert Finney and 1969’s Twisted Nerve alongside Hayley Mills.

Her final film appearance came in 2007’s Hot Fuzz, in which she played a Neighbourhood Watch Alliance member called Joyce Cooper opposite Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Whitelaw was also known as the muse of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, who wrote several of his most experimental plays especially for her and branded the Englishwoman “the perfect actress”. Whitelaw once said of her working relationship with Beckett: “He used me as a piece of plaster he was moulding until he got just the right shape.” Whitelaw stopped performing Beckett’s plays after the playwright died in 1989, but continued to give lectures on his work and later likened the impact of his death to “an amputation”.

Whitelaw also racked up numerous TV appearances over the years, including key roles in the 1998 US mini-series adaptation of Merlin and a 1980 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

Billie Whitelaw passed away yesterday (December 21) having lived until her death in a nursing home in Hampstead, north London. She was married to her second husband, writer Robert Muller, from 1967 until his death in 1998. She is survived by her son, Matthew Muller, who paid tribute yesterday to his “incredibly loving mother”.