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June Brown

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June Brown

June Brown (2009).jpg
Brown in 2009
Born
June Muriel Brown

(1927-02-16)16 February 1927
Needham Market, Suffolk, England
Died3 April 2022(2022-04-03) (aged 95)
Surrey, England
Occupation
  • Actress
  • author
Years active1952–2021
Known forRole of Dot Cotton in EastEnders
Political partyConservative
Spouses
  • John Garley
    (m. 1950; died 1957)
  • Robert Arnold
    (m. 1958; died 2003)
Children6
Military career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1944–1945
UnitWomen's Royal Naval Service
Battles/warsSecond World War

June Muriel Brown OBE (16 February 1927 – 3 April 2022) was an English actress and author. She was best known for her role as Dot Cotton on the BBC soap opera EastEnders (1985–1993; 1997–2020). In 2005, she won Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards and received the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Soap Awards. Brown was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to drama and to charity,[1] and promoted OBE in the 2022 New Year Honours. In 2009, she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, making her the second performer to receive a BAFTA nomination for their work in a soap opera, after Jean Alexander. In February 2020 she announced that she had left EastEnders permanently, at the age of 93.

Early life[edit]

Brown was born on 16 February 1927 in Needham Market, Suffolk,[2] one of five children of Louisa Ann (née Butler) and Henry William Melton Brown.[3] Her ancestry included English, Irish and Scottish, and from her maternal grandmother, Sephardic Jewish (from Algeria, the Netherlands and Italy).[4][5] Through her grandmother, she was descended from noted Jewish bare-knuckle boxer Isaac Bitton.[6]

Brown was educated at St John's Church of England School in Ipswich and then won a scholarship to Ipswich High School, where she passed the school certificate examinations.[7] During the Second World War, she was evacuated to the Welsh village of Pontyates in Carmarthenshire. During the later years of the war, she served in the Wrens and was classically trained at the Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth, London.[8]

Career[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Brown had a long television career, with small roles in Coronation Street as Mrs Parsons (1970–71); the Play for Today, Edna, the Inebriate Woman as Clara (1971); the Doctor Who story The Time Warrior as Lady Eleanor (1973–74); the nursing soap Angels; the history-of-Britain Churchill's People; long-running comedy drama Minder; the police drama soap The Bill; and cult sci-fi series Survivors.[9] She had a bigger part as Mrs Leyton in the costume drama The Duchess of Duke Street (1976), and played Mrs Mann in Oliver Twist (1985).[10]

She also played Nanny Slagg in the BBC's big-budget production of Gormenghast in 2000.[11] She was cast in small roles in several movies, appearing as the grieving mother of an undead biker in British horror flick Psychomania (1971), as well as Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Sitting Target (1972), The 14 (1973), Murder by Decree (1979), Nijinsky (1980), The Mambo Kings (1992) and the Mr. Bean movie spin-off Bean (1997). She also appeared as Tom Hedden's wife in Straw Dogs (1971), although her scenes were cut from the film. In 1984, she featured in the TV mini-series Lace which starred actress Phoebe Cates.[12]

In 2006, Brown appeared as Aunt Spiker at the Children's Party at the Palace, an all-star event to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday. In 2010, Brown took part in the annual Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing. Brown said "I'm terrified and apprehensive about what I've let myself in for, I must be barmy and I'm not sure what's come over me ... I just hope I can remember the steps to the routines. I'm looking forward to working with the professional dancers and the other contestants."[13] Her dancing partner was Vincent Simone, with whom she danced the tango.

In August 2011 she was featured in the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? and was the oldest person to have appeared on the programme.[14]

In July 2012, Brown hosted a documentary for the BBC called Respect Your Elders, which looked at society's treatment and attitudes towards the elderly.[15]

Theatre[edit]

Brown was also active in British theatre. She directed and starred in Pin Money by Malcolm Needs in London, and Double D by Matthew Westwood in Edinburgh and London. She played Mrs Danvers in a touring production of Rebecca. Other plays include An Inspector Calls, The Lion in Winter, A View from the Bridge, and numerous pantomimes. During her early career, she played the roles of Hedda Gabler and Lady Macbeth.

In 2009, Brown played Jessie in the West End production of Calendar Girls at the Noël Coward Theatre. Also in the play were former EastEnders stars Anita Dobson (Angie Watts), Jill Halfpenny (Kate Mitchell) and Jack Ryder (Jamie Mitchell).[16]

EastEnders[edit]

Brown was recommended to producers for the role of Dot Cotton in EastEnders by one of its original cast members, Leslie Grantham, who played Den Watts. Brown played the role from 1985 to 2020, with a break between 1993 and 1997.[17]

On 31 January 2008, Brown became the first and, to date, only soap actor to carry an entire episode single-handed. The episode, titled "Pretty Baby....", featured a monologue looking back over her character's life, dictated to a cassette machine for her husband Jim to listen to in hospital following a stroke. The fact that co-star and close friend John Bardon (who played Jim) was recovering from a stroke in real life added extra pathos to the episode.[18] In 2009, Brown was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress.[19] Brown's nomination came as a result of her "single-hander" episode of EastEnders, the director of which she praised.[20]

On 30 April 2012, it was announced that Brown was to take a six-month break from EastEnders and planned to write her autobiography during her time off.[21] In October 2012, it was announced she had returned to filming, and she appeared on screen again from January 2013.[22] Her autobiography, Before the Year Dot, was published in 2013.[23]

In May 2015, Brown revealed that her eyesight was failing due to macular degeneration.[24] Later, in 2016, a storyline for Dot where her eyesight was deteriorating was introduced. Speaking about the condition in April 2019, Brown said that it had worsened since undergoing surgery in 2017, and that she did not go out socially because of her eyesight: "I never go to soap awards or suchlike now. I don't recognise people that I know and they would think I was snubbing them."[25]

On 20 February 2020, Brown announced she had left EastEnders.[26][27]

Personal life[edit]

In 1950, Brown met and married actor John Garley; he suffered from depression and died from suicide in 1957. In 1958, she married actor Robert Arnold.[28] They had six children in seven years, one of whom died in infancy.[29] The couple were together for 45 years, until he died in 2003 of Lewy-body dementia. Thereafter, she lived alone in Surrey.[30]

Brown was a supporter of the Conservative Party and told The Guardian in 2009, "I wouldn't vote Labour, dear, if you paid me. I vote Conservative."[31] Like her EastEnders character, she was a Christian.[32]

Brown was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours[33] and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours, both for services to drama and to charity.[34][35][36]

Death[edit]

Brown died on 3 April 2022, at the age of 95.[37] On the announcement of her death, the following day, EastEnders paid tribute to Brown and posted condolences from several of her former co-stars on social media, including Gillian Taylforth,[38] Natalie Cassidy,[39] Lacey Turner,[40] Diane Parish,[41] Emma Barton,[42] Shona McGarty,[43] Adam Woodyatt[44] and Letitia Dean.[45] The episode broadcast that evening was dedicated to her memory. Following this, the documentary June Brown: A Walford Legend, which originally aired in 2017, to celebrate Brown's 90th birthday, and her 2011 episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, were aired on BBC One, in a change to the original schedule.[46][47]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

  • Missing You (2021) as Margey (1 episode)[53]

Theatre[edit]

Directed[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Before the Year Dot (2013)[55]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Character Result[56]
1999 National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton Nominated
2000 Nominated
The British Soap Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Single Episode – Ethell's Emotional Death Nominated
Best On Screen Partnership – shared with Gretchen Franklin Nominated
TV Quick and TV Choice Awards Best Actress Won
2001 The National Television Awards Most Popular Actress Nominated
The British Soap Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Dramatic Performance Nominated
Hero of the Year Nominated
Best Storyline – Dot's Schizophrenia Plot Nominated
Inside Soap Awards Best Actress Won
Best Storyline – Dot's Schizophrenia Plot Won
TV Quick and TV Choice Awards Best Actress Nominated
2002 The National Television Awards Most Popular Actress Nominated
The British Soap Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best On Screen Partnership – shared with John Bardon Won
2004 Best Actress Nominated
2005 The National Television Awards Most Popular Actress Nominated
The British Soap Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best On Screen Partnership – shared with John Bardon Won
Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Inside Soap Awards Best Actress Won
Best Couple – shared with John Bardon Won
TV Quick and TV Choice Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Soap Storyline – Dot's Cancer Nominated
2007 The National Television Awards Most Popular Actress Nominated
2008 TRIC Awards Best TV Personality Nominated
2009 The National Television Awards Serial Drama Performance Nominated
BAFTA Television Awards Actress in a Leading Role Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ TV, What's on (4 November 2008). "EastEnders' June Brown honoured with MBE | News | EastEnders". What's on TV. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Profile: June Brown". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  3. ^ "June Brown – Family History – Genes Reunited Blog – Genes Reunited". genesreunited.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  4. ^ "BBC One – Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 8, June Brown". BBC.
  5. ^ "June Brown: 'I'm like a mongrel!'". What's on TV. August 2011.
  6. ^ Rajan, Amol (11 August 2011). "Last Night's TV: Who Do You Think You Are?/BBC1 Village SOS/BBC1". The Independent. London.
  7. ^ "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of June Brown, actress". The Independent. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Since year Dot: EastEnders' June Brown's best moments". The Daily Telegraph. 29 February 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  9. ^ "June Brown". TV Guide.
  10. ^ Harding, Laura (4 April 2022). "EastEnders stalwart June Brown, best known as Dot Cotton, dies aged 95". The Independent. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Gormenghast | Nannie Slagg". PBS.
  12. ^ "Lace – Nostalgia Central". nostalgiacentral.com. 14 January 2014.
  13. ^ "BBC announces Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special". BBC. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  14. ^ "BBC One – Who do You Think You Are?, Series 8, June Brown".
  15. ^ "BBC One – June Brown: Respect Your Elders". BBC. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  16. ^ Green, Kris (29 May 2009). "June Brown to strip for 'Calendar Girls'". Digital Spy.
  17. ^ "EastEnders Legend June Brown Dies, Aged 95". HuffPost. 4 April 2022.
  18. ^ Moreton, Cole (27 January 2008). "June Brown: All alone in Dot's kitchen". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  19. ^ "Television Awards Nominations 2009". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  20. ^ Fletcher, Alex (24 March 2009). "Santer hails 'remarkable' June Brown". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  21. ^ "'EastEnders' June Brown taking six-month break". Digital Spy. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  22. ^ "'EastEnders': Dot Branning makes return in January – EastEnders News – Soaps". Digital Spy. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  23. ^ Brown, June (24 October 2013). Before the Year Dot. ISBN 978-1-4711-0182-3 – via simonandschuster.com.
  24. ^ White, Stephen (17 May 2015). "EastEnders legend June Brown is losing her sight but still has to work due to financial crisis". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  25. ^ "EastEnders' June Brown losing her sight". BBC News. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Dot Cotton: Actress June Brown says she has left EastEnders 'for good'". BBC News. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  27. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (21 February 2020). "June Brown says she's played EastEnders' Dot Cotton for last time". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  28. ^ "Robert Arnold". IMDb.
  29. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs, June Brown". BBC iPlayer. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  30. ^ Cole Moreton (27 January 2008). "June Brown: All alone in Dot's kitchen". The Independent.
  31. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (20 April 2009). "Decca Aitkenhead meets June Brown, EastEnders' Dot Cotton". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  32. ^ PM, Cath Martin 23 June 2014 | 1:47. "Eastenders star June Brown says she made the character 'Dot' more Christian". christiantoday.com.
  33. ^ "Des and Dot lead showbiz honours". BBC. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  34. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N11.
  35. ^ "New Year Honours: Whitty, Van-Tam and Blair knighted, Lumley and Redgrave made dames". BBC News. 31 December 2021.
  36. ^ "New Year Honours 2022: Lumley and Redgrave become dames". BBC News. 31 December 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  37. ^ "EastEnders veteran June Brown dies at 95". BBC News. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  38. ^ "Gillian Taylforth: "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."1/2". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 5 April 2022 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  39. ^ "From @Nat_Cassidy "I am so sad to hear the news about My June. She taught me everything I know. We laughed, we drank red wine, we learnt lines. She told me all her stories which I will keep close to my heart forever and she knew all of mine." 1/2". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  40. ^ "From Lacey Turner: "Her professionalism, her care and passion for her craft and the detail that she put into her character was mesmerising to watch. Both watching Dot and listening to June, I was absolutely mesmerised."". Independent. 5 April 2022. Retrieved 5 April 2022.[non-primary source needed]
  41. ^ "From Diane Parish: "In my humble opinion, June Brown WAS EastEnders. Her voice, her mannerisms, her character, her look were all carefully crafted choices by one of the country's most beloved and gifted actors." 1/3". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  42. ^ "From @EmmaBarton "Working with June was like being part of an acting masterclass of dreams. The way she coloured every line, choreographed her movement to perfection, she knew exactly how she was going to deliver her scenes." 1/2". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  43. ^ "From @ShonaBM "My first week at EastEnders I was so nervous but June invited me into her dressing room for a chat and she was so very encouraging." 1/5". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  44. ^ "From @AdamWoodyatt "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." 1/2". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  45. ^ "From Letitia Dean "My beloved June, I truly loved you. Not just a phenomenal actress but a very dear friend. Oh the fun we have had over the years! I will never stop loving you, THANK YOU for your kindness and your generosity and for loving me the way you did."". BBC EastEnders Press. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022.[non-primary source needed]
  46. ^ "June Brown: EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt and Danny Dyer lead tributes to actress". Evening Standard. 4 April 2022.
  47. ^ "June Brown documentary to air after EastEnders". Radio Times. 4 April 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq "June Brown, filmography". Filmoria. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  49. ^ "Troma's LGBT horror musical Spidarlings to premiere in July". 14 June 2017.
  50. ^ "The Rough and Ready Lot", Radio Times, London, no. 1871, p. 19, 18 September 1959, retrieved 6 April 2016
  51. ^ "June Brown". British Film Institute. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  52. ^ "June Brown at 90 – a Walford Legend". 30 January 2017.
  53. ^ "Ex-EastEnder June Brown to star in drama podcast". 24 December 2020.
  54. ^ Owen, Alun (1960). The Rough and Ready Lot: A play in Three Acts. Cover design by Elisabeth Frink (First ed.). London: Encore Publishing Co. Ltd. p. 4.
  55. ^ Brown, June (24 October 2013). Before the Year Dot. ISBN 978-1-4711-0182-3.
  56. ^ "When June Brown began her acting career and the age she retired from EastEnders". inews.co.uk. 4 April 2022.

External links[edit]