June Brown: How did Dot Cotton actress die, how old was she, and tributes to the Eastender actress

The actress’ death was announced by her family and by the BBC in a brief statement.

Gretchen Franklin (left) as Ethel and June Brown (right) as Dot Cotton during an episode of EastEnders. Photo: BBC/PA Wire.
Gretchen Franklin (left) as Ethel and June Brown (right) as Dot Cotton during an episode of EastEnders. Photo: BBC/PA Wire.

EastEnders star June Brown, best known for her role as chain-smoking Dot Cotton, has died at the age of 95, the BBC has announced.

The actress's 35-year run as the Albert Square mainstay began in 1985. before she left the show in 2020. Brown 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.

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.

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. Here’s how she died, how old she was, and the legacy the actress leaves behind.

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June Brown: Actress who played Dot Cotton on EastEnders dies at age of 95

How did June Brown die?

The actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side. Although the cause of death has not been announced, it seems as though she died from natural causes due to old age.

The actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday evening with her family by her side. Photo: BBC/PA Wire.

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."

How old was June Brown?

June Brown was born on February 16th, 1927. She had just celebrated her 95th birthday a couple of months ago.

Legacy of June Brown beyond Dot Cotton

Although perhaps most well known for her role as Dot Cotton, Brown achieved much in her life. 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 also previously made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to drama and charity.

June 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.

Tributes to June Brown

"We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved June Brown, OBE, MBE, sadly passed away last night,” said an EastEnders spokeswoman. "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."

"There was no one like June Brown,” said BBC broadcaster and TV critic, Scott Bryan, on Twitter.

Additional reporting by PA.

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