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The Independent (17/Jul/2011) - Googie Withers, star of 'Within These Walls', dies aged 94




Googie Withers, star of 'Within These Walls', dies aged 94

Googie Withers, best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's railway thriller The Lady Vanishes, has died in Australia, aged 94.

Her unusual name was an affectionate childhood nickname meaning "dove" given to her by an Indian nanny. She was born in Karachi but grew up in Britain, before training as an actress in Birmingham.

She had moved to Australia in 1958 after marrying Australian actor John McCallum, one of the creators of Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, who died last year.

With her role as Blanche in Hitchcock's 1938 classic, she starred opposite Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave for the story of a woman who suddenly disappears on a train.

She was also warmly regarded for theatre and television appearances including roles in the BBC's adaptations of Northanger Abbey and that of a prison governor in Within These Walls.

Her final film appearance was in the 1996 film Shine, for which leading man Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar for best actor. She was awarded a CBE in 2002 and was the first non-Australian to be made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1980. She died at her home in Sydney on Friday.