Tributes pour in for EastEnders actress June Brown, who played Dot Cotton, dies aged 95

ITV News Entertainment Correspondent Rishi Davda reports on the outpouring of love directed to June Brown following the news of her death

Tributes have poured in for actress June Brown, best known for her role as Dot Cotton in EastEnders, after it was announced she had died at the age of 95.

The actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side.

Brown's 35-year run as the Albert Square mainstay began in 1985. before she left the show in 2020.She was perhaps EastEnders’ best-known star and larger-than-life Dot was known for her devout Christian faith and hypochondria, as well as her endless cigarette addiction.

An EastEnders spokeswoman said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved June Brown, OBE, MBE, sadly passed away last night.

“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 2,884 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 but we shall all be raising a sweet sherry in June’s memory.

“Rest in peace, our dearest June. You will never be forgotten.”

June Brown and John Bardon in their roles as Dot and Jim Branning in EastEnders Credit: PA

A statement from Brown’s family said: “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.”

The veteran actress, who had a long career in television and theatre, arrived on Albert Square shortly after the soap began in 1985, and aside from a break between 1993 and 1997, was a regular for more than three decades.

Fellow EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale, wrote: "I’m lost for words, something June never was. So many memories, so much fun. Just purely and simply an incredible woman who had the most incredible life and career, I was fortunate to have shared a small part of it.

"They never made you a Dame (we did try), but to me you will always be Dame Brown."

Posting on twitter, Stephen Fry wrote: "June Brown, amongst all her other wonderful human qualities and achievements, will be remembered as a tireless and fearless LGBT ally - especially during the darkest days of HIV/AIDS and Section 28… it was a privilege to know her."

Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale on EastEnders, said: "I’m truly heartbroken by this news. June Brown OBE, MBE, was an amazing woman and a truly wonderful actress. I shared many scenes with her over the years and she was always someone I looked up to and learnt from.

"There will never be another June Brown and I’m sending all my love to her family," 

Before joining EastEnders she had roles in Coronation Street, Doctor Who, Minder and The Bill, as well as costume dramas The Duchess Of Duke Street and Oliver Twist.Brown won several awards for her portrayal of Dot, including a lifetime achievement honour at the 2005 British Soap Awards.

In 2009, she was nominated for the best actress prize at the TV Baftas for her standalone episode of the soap.

In December 2021 Brown was made an OBE in the New Year Honours, as she was recognised for services to drama and to charity.

She was previously made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to drama and charity.

Brown married her first husband, John Garley, in 1950.

After his death she married actor Robert Arnold in 1958 and had six children with him.

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