June Brown, the actress best known for immortalising the iconic EastEnders character Dot Cotton, has died at the age of 95.
The TV star had been a part of the British soap since 1985 and was considered to be one of the show’s most recognisable and enduring faces.
Confirming her death, Brown’s family said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to announce our beloved mother, June, passed away very peacefully at her home in Surrey on Sunday evening, with her family by her side. We would kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time”
Paying tribute to the late star, a statement from EastEnders added: “There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at EastEnders, her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten…
“June created one of the most iconic characters in Dot Cotton, not just in soap but in British television, and having appeared in 2884 episodes, June’s remarkable performances created some of EastEnders finest moments.
“We send all our love and deepest sympathies to June’s family and friends. A very bright light has gone out at EastEnders today – we shall all be raising a sweet sherry in June’s memory. Rest in peace, our dearest June. You will never be forgotten.”
Brown was born in Needham Market, Suffolk, in 1927 and was one of five children. During the second world war she served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, but went on to train as an actor at London’s Old Vic Theatre School.
She had early roles in shows such as ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Play For Today’, but her greatest success came when she joined EastEnders on the recommendation of Leslie Grantham, who played legendary villain Den Watts.
As Dot, Brown was involved in some of the show’s most memorable storylines, including the time when her troubled son Nick (John Altman) plotted to murder her and spend her bingo winnings on drugs. He ditched the murder plans at the last minute.
Another plot saw Dot struggling with her Christian beliefs when her best friend Ethel, in the grips of terminal illness, asked her to administer a fatal dose of morphine to end her suffering. Dot eventually left out morphine pills but was seen to experience huge guilt over the decision.
The character was also known for her relationship with beloved husband Jim (the late John Barden), becoming his primary carer after the character suffered a stroke.
Dot’s love of cigarettes on the show also mirrored that of Brown, having told the Radio Times in 2018 she believed she would die “fairly soon”, and saw no reason to give up drinking and smoking, per The Guardian.
She is survived by six children from her marriage to her second husband Robert Arnold.