Actress Billie Whitelaw dies at 82

Also, Mary Kom director to make war drama, HNY now available to watch online, Turkish TV show fined over dancing husbands scene and tributes to renowed British photographer Jane Bown.
The actress Billie Whitelaw. John Pratt / Keystone Features / Getty Images
The actress Billie Whitelaw. John Pratt / Keystone Features / Getty Images

Renowned British actress Billie Whitelaw, famous for her collaborations with the Nobel Prize- winning playwright Samuel Beckett, who wrote several roles for her, died on Sunday aged 82. Described by Beckett as the “perfect actress”, Whitelaw became his muse and they created a series of experimental performances together. One of the most famous was Not I, a Beckett monologue in which only her mouth was visible to the theatre audience. Whitelaw’s career on stage and screen won her a series of awards and spanned more than half a century, including playing the mother of the notorious London gangsters in The Krays. Her most recent appearance was in the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright comedy Hot Fuzz in 2007. One of her best-known film roles was as a demonic nanny in the 1976 horror movie The Omen. Her son Matthew Muller told the BBC she died at a nursing home in London on Sunday. “She had an incredible career – but first and foremost she was my mum, and that’s who I will miss,” he said. ­– AFP

Mary Kom director to make war drama

Omung Kumar, the director of this year’s Mary Kom, says he will start shooting his next film, a Second World War drama, late next year. “It’s a period film and I feel their stories haven’t been told on screen,” he says. “I will shoot in some real locations and also create a set. I will start shooting by mid-October.” The film, which will also be in part a love story, is tentatively titled War. Kumar said the film will feature many stars with one lead actor. “I haven’t locked anyone for the film yet. Talks are on. I need good actors for the film – I don’t believe in A-listers and B-listers.” – IANS

HNY now available to watch online

After proving a smash hit at the box office in India and all around the world, the Bollywood film Happy New Year is now available for fans worldwide to watch online. For a one-time payment of US$4.99 (Dh18), the film can be streamed and viewed as often as buyers want. For $6.99, you can get the film plus 14 minutes of deleted scenes, some bloopers and a 25-minute “making of” documentary. The makers say that Happy New Year, which was filmed in Dubai and stars Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, is the first major international film to use this “direct-to-fan” model of distribution, rather than using a third-party video-streaming service. Visit for more information. – The National staff

Turkish TV show fined over dancing husbands scene

Turkey’s television regulator has handed a record fine to a popular game show for a segment in which husbands were filmed dancing with other women as their wives looked on.

The game show, I Don’t Know, My Spouse Knows was fined 410,000 Turkish lira (Dh649,754) by the Radio and Television Supreme Council which has come under fire in recent months for a number of tough rulings.

The regulator said that the episode was “contrary to public morality and the Turkish family structure”, the Hurriyet daily reported.

In the offending show, broadcast in November, husbands were shown dancing with other women – said to be foreigners – while the horrified reactions of their wives were shown.

The four wives appeared aghast as they watched their husbands, with one asking a fellow contestant if the stunt was a joke.

When it became clear it was not, their reactions were even more grave. – AFP

Tributes to renowned British photographer Jane Bown

British photographer Jane Bown, who captured playwright Samuel Beckett, former Beatle John Lennon and Queen Elizabeth II in iconic black-and-white portraits, has died aged 89.

The Observer newspaper hired Bown in 1949, and she visited the office each week for more than half a century, continuing to work with 35mm film in the digital age and becoming part of the “DNA” of the newspaper, editor John Mulholland said.

“She produced some of the most memorable and insightful images of prominent cultural and political figures taken during the 20th century,” he added.

“Her beautifully observed pictures have become part of our cultural landscape.”

She went on to take pictures of French writer Jean Cocteau, US actor and director Orson Welles, The Beatles, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, singer Bjork and Queen Elizabeth II on her 80th birthday.

Perhaps her most famous work was her much-reproduced 1976 photograph of Samuel Beckett, in which the Irish playwright’s creased face glares out of the dark of an alley beside a London theatre, where she caught him slipping away from a rehearsal.

Bown’s motto was “photographers should neither be seen nor heard”, she liked to finish a shoot in 10 minutes, and disarmed subjects with a “disguise as a respectable little middle-class woman from Hampshire”, according to the Observer.

“Nobody has taken so many wonderful photographs of so many great faces, with such little fuss as Jane Bown,” said photographer and former picture editor Eamon McCabe.

“She was a reluctant star, hating the attention of being well known herself.” – AFP

Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM


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