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Googie Withers
, 1962

by Don Bachardy

pen and ink, brush and ink on paper (sheet: 73.8 cm x 58.5 cm)

Georgette Lizette (Googie) Withers AO (1917–2011), stage, film and television actor, was born in India and studied drama at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London. Her first major screen role in The Girl in the Crowd (1935) was followed by appearances in a string of comedies, as well as serious dramatic roles in films such as the Hitchcock thriller The Lady Vanishes (1938) and One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942), in which she played a Dutch resistance fighter. She appeared with the Australian actor John McCallum in It Always Rains on Sunday (1947); they married in 1948. Based in Sydney from the late 1950s she continued he career in both Australia and Britain, becoming one of the era’s finest dramatic and comedy actors and appearing in over 60 films and numerous stage productions. She appeared in Shine (1996) as a mentor to the troubled teenaged David Helfgott, and in stage revivals such as Lady Windermere’s Fan (2001). She was first non-Australian woman to be made an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
Accession number: 1999.21