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Una Stubbs, known for her roles in BBC’s Sherlock, EastEnders and the 1960s sitcom Till Death Do Us Part, has died. She was 84.
Stubbs’ sons Joe and Christian Henson and Jason Gilmore announced that the British star had died in a statement to the BBC. “Mum passed away quietly today with her family around her, in Edinburgh. We ask for privacy and understanding at this most difficult and sad of times.”
The British theater and screen star broke out in Cliff Richard’s 1963 film Summer Holiday before notably appearing in the 1966 sitcom Till Death Us Do Part as Rita, the daughter of a white working-class East End family. She would reprise the role in 1981’s Till Death and again in 1985 for In Sickness and In Health.
Stubbs’ agent of more than 20 years Rebecca Blond confirmed the actress’ death and described Stubbs as “wickedly funny” and a “gracious and kind” friend. “We are desperately sad to have lost not only a wonderful actress, whose screen and stage career, spanning over 50 years, was so extraordinarily varied, from Till Death Us Do Part to Sherlock, as well as memorable performances in the West End, at the Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre, but also a wickedly funny, elegant, stylish, graceful, gracious and kind and constant friend,” she said.
But Stubbs is perhaps best known for playing Mrs. Hudson in the BBC award-winning series Sherlock, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Stubbs’ character served as the landlady of the famed residence 221B Baker St., and shared a somewhat familial relationship with the iconic detective. Stubbs, who had acted alongside Cumberbatch’s mother, had known the actor since he was four.
Sherlock creator Steven Moffat spoke to the Times Radio about Stubbs’ passing, calling her a scene-stealer and the “sweetest, kindest, funniest person.”
“That’s what you just thought when Una arrived on set is: the really funny, kind, lovely one is here. And you kind of forget that she’s a national treasure, because she was she was so sweet,” he said. “So, so strangely humbled, so gentle, and you sort of know you’re in the presence of a stellar talent because when she turned on the acting, it was extraordinary. But you could almost forget that extraordinary range of work, that she’s done from Fawlty Towers, Worzel Gummidge, Summer Holiday, Till Death Do Us Part. I mean, for most of us, Sherlock was the biggest hit we ever had, for her it was just the latest one.”
One of Stubb’s earliest TV appearances was in 1956 as a dancer on the British television music show Cool for Cats. The actress also had a penchant for art and exhibited her work in the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition along with co-hosting BBC One’s The Big Painting Challenge in 2015.
Appearing mostly in small-screen roles, Stubbs other well-known parts include Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge, Miss Bat in The Worst Witch and a regular appearance on the game show Don’t Say A Word, as well as its follow-up Give us a Clue. She also performed in a number of stage productions including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre and Noël Coward’s Star Quality at the West End theatre. In 2007, she also performed as part of the Doctor Who audio drama Horror of Glam Rock.
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