THOMSON, Helen Virginia Horton Recently moved to Topanga from Vero Beach, died in her sleep early Friday morning, September 28th in her daughter's home. She was 83 and is survived by her brother, Nate, her oldest son, Jamie, her daughter, Kate and their children, Charlie, Lily, Sam and Leif. She was greatly loved and will be cherished dearly. A Chicago native, Helen was a gifted and forthright personality. She was attracted to the acting profession from an early age showing spirited performances. She went first to Stevens where she was elected ''The Ideal of the Love of Scholarship'', and then to Northwestern starring in many school productions at both colleges. Most memorable was her Viola to Pat Neal's Olivia in Twelfth Night. She made lifetime friends during her student years to whom she remained loyal throughout her life despite the fact that she married a Scot, Hamish, and lived near London where she raised three children. This coterie of women friends enjoyed vivacious and intellectual companionship enriched by many wonderful travels together. Pete, Mimi, Nat, Nancy and Pat hold her memory rich and dear. Her short career in New York included an outstanding Mary Magdala at Blackfriars and Dream Girl at the Selwyn. In England she played many American parts. She performed Blanche in Streetcar, a personal favorite, which also toured England and she appeared in The Reluctant Peer for over a year in London's Westend. Amongst her many performances were roles in The Heiress, Our Town and Maime. Movies include Phase Four, Ryan's Daughter, Superman. She accomplished unusual, difficult parts on the Fringe, such as the demanding, For Birds for Dreams. She did lots of TV, in its infancy in Manchester 'live', with ATV and Thames, She was particularly proud of The American Dream produced on the BBC, though likely she's remembered for her character roles in many Benny Hill and Dick Emery comedies. Tragedy struck her family when her erudite, successful youngest son contracted ALS. Returning to the US, she dedicated herself to caring for him in Connecticut and Florida with tenacious courage. With hopes to start a new chapter to her life in California, she brought humor and wisdom to family and friends. Sadly, a stroke earlier this year weakened her and this new life was not to be. Details: Hollywood Funeral Home, 323-469-1181.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Oct. 3 to Oct. 7, 2007.