I'm sure many of you (if not all) in 'the business' called show: movie, television and theatre would know Olga Lowe. I have just heard, belatedly, that Olga has passed over.
Olga played my mother (Lady Thiang) in 'The King & I'. With her supreme contralto voice her 'Something Wonderful' really was. I would stand in the wings for every performance during the month-long run. We had a special relationship in every way: very funny and very droll she would tell me about her life.
Olga was very close friends with Sid James whom she had met in South Africa years before - she was on stage the night Sid died on the Sunderland Empire stage in 'The Mating Season'. She backed Carmen Miranda in Brazil and stormed the audience in Pal Joey in 1954 at the London Palladium with her 'Zip' with the ovation lasting for several minutes.
Then followed 'The Pyjama Game' at the Coliseum. When seeing Olga in 'Where Eagles Dare' as the Nazi prison warder I shouted out 'There's my mum' - a long way from Prince Chululongkorn and Siam. I will try and find a photo from The King & I.
She was thrilled when we both received great notices for our performances in 'the King'. We never met again until many years later she appeared on BBC Breakfast Time, I think to do with her being cast in Eastenders, whatever it didn't matter for it was as though we'd seen each other only yesterday.
There really WAS something wonderful about Olga - she touched my life with kindness. I feel more honoured and in awe of her now than I did then. Funny how one's retrospective on life becomes more gracious and humble the older you get - only then do you realise how lucky you have been when you roll back the years.