We’re sad to report the passing of Betty Peacock (née Wrightman), first wife of Gerry Anderson, at the age of ninety-two.
Born on June 30th 1929, the young Betty trained as a dressmaker. After first meeting at a dance hall in Hammersmith, Gerry and Betty were married at the home of Betty’s parents on October 16th 1952, and made their home in Harrow Weald. The couple had two children, Joy and Linda, and later relocated to a house in Maidenhead as Gerry’s work with A.P. Films took him to Islet Park to make 1957’s The Adventures of Twizzle. Betty would also work on the series, making puppet costumes and items of household furnishing – but as time went on she began to realise that Gerry’s long hours away from home were not entirely due to work commitments. Her husband had increasingly began to feel that his future lay firmly in the world of filmmaking, and with A.P.F. production secretary Sylvia Thamm.
Betty and Gerry separated in 1959, with Gerry relocating first to a room at Islet Park before moving in with Sylvia full time. His separation from Betty was acrimonious, and in later years Gerry would look back on his behaviour during this time with much regret in his biography What Made Thunderbirds Go!; “In my view, I married before I had the necessary experience to make the right decisions, not just with the person I married, but about the way to conduct my life. The result was a tragedy. There’s no justification for the way I behaved, but I was head over heels in love with Sylvia. That sort of thing plays havoc with the mind.”
Betty remarried and lived a full and happy life, remaining active into her later years – even taking her first flying lesson at the age of eighty-nine. However, after complications from cancer likely aggravated after a fall at home in August, her health took a sudden decline. She passed away at home on September 13th 2021, surrounded by family and friends. She leaves behind daughters Joy and Linda, and son David. We extend our sympathies to all who knew her.