Betty Baskcomb, BBC stalwart and West End performer, died April 15 in Cambridgeshire, England. She was 89.
Native of St. John’s Wood, London, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and within six months debuted at London Colosseum. During the 1930s, she worked as a regular (at day rate) for British Lion and other studios, landing a part in Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much”(1934). Later film roles occurred in such pics as “Dr. Crippen” (1962), “Your Money or Your Wife” (1960) and “Tread Softly.”
In 1936, she joined the BBC Drama Repertory Company, where her famed vocal range kept her busy throughout the decades, even as late as 1970-72.
During WWII, she joined the ranks of the Women’s Auxiliary Fire Brigade while still acting.
Her first husband, Anthony Lehmann, died four years after their 1940 wedding. In 1948 she married Ronald Ward while maintaining a contract with the BBC as a player on many radio shows, adding to the ensemble of Jack Ripper sensation “Room to Let” and headlining Mark Oliver’s version of “This Happy Breed.” She also continued on stage, including 1944’s “The Glass Slipper.”
Other stage roles during the 1950s through ’70s included “Out of the Whirlwind,” “Ring for Catty,” “Everything in the Garden,” a revival of “Hay Fever,” at least two stints as a barmaid (“Two Compasses” and “Flare Path”) and her last legit role, 1980-81, in “Dance to the Music of Time.”
TV work includes “Afternoon of a Nymph,” “Doctor on the Go,” “Not on Your Nellie” and “New Scotland Yard.”