SHE played EastEnders’ chain-smoking Dot Cotton for more than 30 سنوات – and June Brown’s life was as dramatic as any soap opera.
An EastEnders spokeswoman said: “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 الحلقات, June’s remarkable performances created some of EastEnders’ finest moments.”
From childhood tragedy to the death of a husband and love affairs, we take a look at the life of a national treasure.
Childhood marred by heartache
Born in Needham Market, Suffolk, في 1927, June’s childhood was marred by heartache, financial uncertainty and a feeling of rejection.
READ MORE ON JUNE BROWN
When she was five years old, her newborn brother John died of pneumonia at just 15 days old.
بعد سنتين, her eight-year-old sister Marise passed away from a meningitis-like illness, a devastating loss which June wrote in her autobiography “shaped the way I behaved for a long time”.
She feared her mother, لويزا, a milliner, loved June’s four siblings more than her.
والدها, هاري, was a wealthy businessman but went bust investing money in German banks before World War I.
الأكثر قراءة في الصابون
في 18, when June served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service – the Wrens – in Scotland, she discovered her love of acting.
ورد الضابط بشيء ما لتأثير "لا, she got her first job as a cinema operator in Argyll, before winning a place at London’s famous Old Vic Theatre School.
قالت: “I seemed to attract the opposite sex. And I’d go to bed with men because I was looking for something I never quite found until I met my first husband Johnny. He was a lovely person and the wittiest man I’ve ever known.”
June married John Garley, also an acting student, في 1950.
But tragedy was to strike again seven years later when, suffering from depression, John took his own life in their marital bed.
She once said: “He’d had an affair with another actress, although I was the first to be unfaithful.”
داخل 11 months of John’s death, June married Dixon of Dock Green actor Robert Arnold.
They had their first child, لويز, في 1954 and went on to have five more.
In a heartbreaking echo of her own background, her second daughter, كلوي, died at 16 days old, having been born premature at just 28 أسابيع.
But just like her tough onscreen persona, June refused to feel sorry for herself.
She once said: “I can’t say my life has been dominated by tragedy. I refuse to accept that. I’ve had less than some, more than others.”
Professionally, June’s career flourished early.
She appeared alongside the likes of Alec Guinness and John Gielgud at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Late actor Nigel Hawthorne described her as “one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve seen on stage,” after seeing her in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler in her 20s.
But the roles dried up after she became a mother.
She returned to studying A’level biology but she was in her forties by then and found it hard to juggle motherhood with the course.
There were a few bit parts in film and TV in the 1970s, including Coronation Street, Doctor Who and The Bill.
Then Leslie Grantham, who played Dirty Den in EastEnders, suggested she would make the perfect Dot Cotton – later Dot Branning.
She made her first appearance in Albert Square in 1985 in a part that was only due to last three months, but became one of the most enduring and endearing characters in British TV.
Her storylines, which earned her several awards including a Bafta nomination, touched on cancer, illegal immigration, homophobia and of course, handling her wayward son, نيك.
في 2004, Dot was diagnosed with kidney cancer, but it was a role June didn’t want to play.
June said: “I don’t think playing illness is productive at my age. I know that doesn’t mean it will happen to me – but I think it’s best not to worry that it might.
“In your 70s you thank your lucky stars for every extra year you get.”
When Dot helped her dear friend Ethel Skinner die, in a groundbreaking assisted suicide story, June touched the hearts of the nation.
في يناير 2008 she appeared in the first ever soap one-hander, where she was the only actress to appear in an episode.
That same year, she was given an MBE for her services to drama and charity, and last December, she was awarded an OBE.
Weeks before she turned 90, she appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and told host Kirsty Young that retirement would kill her.
قالت: “I can be feeling like death warmed up when I come in (to work) and then I’m alive.
إنهم إلى حد ما خارج عن إرادتي ".
Her husband, روبرت, died in 2003 of Lewy body dementia, a progressive form of the brain disease.
Before his death, June recorded her life history so he could listen to it in hospital.