Beloved EastEnders star June Brown passes away aged 95

The late soap star was best known for her portrayal of chain-smoking devoutly-Christian neighbourhood gossip, Dot Cotton, on BBC's EastEnders.

Close up of June Brown smiling and looking off camera
Image: Via YouTube @MyLondon

“…to me you will always be Dame Brown.”

EastEnders icon, June Brown OBE, passed away yesterday, April 3, 2022, after over three decades of playing Dot Cotton, one of the soap’s most popular and legendary characters.

Audiences first fell in love with her when she graced our screens from Albert Square as one of the longest-running stars of the soap, but we’ve stayed in love with her for her talent, character and fierce dedication to LGBTQ+ equality. As early as the 80s, when her religious character still couldn’t accept homosexuality, June was an advocate for our community.

“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…” Tweeted actor, writer and academic Stephen Fry, “it was a privilege to know her.”

In 2017, June loaned her image to the Christmas single, Love Is The Only Law, in support of LGBTQ+ youth charity, The Albert Kennedy Trust.

“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,” read a statement from June’s family, via the BBC EastEnders official Twitter account. “We would kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

“I’m lost for words, something June never was,” said Adam Woodyatt, known for his role in the same soap opera as Ian Beale. “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.”

“I’m truly heartbroken by this news,” said Kathy Beale actress, Gillian Taylforth. “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.”

“There was nobody quite like June Brown,” said Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. “She captured the zeitgeist of British culture like no other in her many years on our screens. Today we’ve lost a true national treasure but my goodness what a life she has led. Rest in peace.”

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