BBC EastEnders: All the soap opera’s iconic stars who are no longer with us


EastEnders is the UK’s premier soap opera since 1985. Londoners have been eagerly following the people of Walford for decades and are familiar with the iconic actors. But 37 years is a long time for a soap opera to be on the air, and unfortunately several actors are no longer with us. We’ve taken a look at the Walford residents who passed by while the show was running.

READ MORE: EastEnders child actor Elliot Carrington’s Casualty role in Life After Bobby Beale

Leslie Grantham



Leslie played Dirty Den on the show for several years

Leslie played “Dirty” Den Watts on the soap from its inception in 1985 until the character’s dramatic death in 1988. However, he briefly returned to the show between 2003 and 2005.

Leslie began acting in prison for the murder of a taxi driver in Germany and began acting professionally upon his release. He continued to play after EastEndersstarring in shows like The law project and Heartbeat. Leslie was married to Jane Laurie from 1981 to 2013 and shared three children with her, including Call the midwife Daniel Laurie.

Leslie died in 2018 from lung cancer at the age of 71.

David Scarboro

David played Mark Fowler on EastEnders from 1985 to 1987. David made his acting debut in good neighbors and Barn Hill before landing his role as a resident of Walford. Elements of David’s life were continuously reported by the media, including his stay in a mental hospital. He was found dead deep in the beach in East Sussex aged just 20.

Gretchen Franklin



Gretchen began acting during World War II

Gretchen played Ethel Skinner on EastEnders since the show began in 1985. Gretchen was born in Covent Garden and had her big break during World War II on the West End’s Sweet And Low revue. Her EastEnders The character appeared on and off in the series before being killed off in 2000. Gretchen died in 2005 at the age of 94.

Sian Blake



Sian faced an agonizing death

Sian, whose stage name was Syan Blake, played Frankie Pierre on EastEnders from 1996 to 1997. His career began on Victimbefore playing soul singer Frankie on EastEnders and get roles on Doctors, the bill and Skins. She then retired and became a sign language teacher and interpreter. In 2015, Sian and her two children were found dead in their home. Her partner was found guilty of their murder and is serving life in prison.

Lyndam Gregoire

Lyndam played Guppy Sharma on the soap opera from 1995 to 1996. He also appeared on Surgical Spirit, The Archers, and coronation street. He was married to Christine Gregory and the couple shared one child, Dominique. Lyndam died in 2014 at the age of 59 from lung cancer.

Wendy Richard



Pauline Fowler was played by Wendy for several decades

Wendy Richard became known for her role as Shirley Brahms in Are you Being Served? and played Pauline Fowler on EastEnders from 1985 to 2006. For her role, she received a Special Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards. Her last role was as Mrs. Crump in Agatha Christie’s marble. Wendy died in 2009 aged 65 after a long battle with recurring breast cancer.

mike reid



Mike died of a suspected heart attack

Mike played Frank Butcher from 1987 to 2000 and reprized his role in 2002 and 2005. He started his career as a stand-up comedian and got his big break as a children’s game show host. run around. He died in Marbella, Spain, in 2007, aged 67, of a suspected heart attack.

Edna Dore

Edna started her career in theater, being a member of the National Theater for 10 years. She was then cast as Mo Butcher in EastEnders, a role she played from 1989 to 1990 when she decided to leave the show. His character was later killed off. Edna died in 2014 at the age of 92.

Michael Elfick

EastEnders‘ Harry Slater was played by Michael in 2001. He was also known for portraying Boon on the ITV show of the same name and he also appeared in coronation street. Michael spent his life battling alcoholism and died of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 55.

Hilda Braid



Hilda played Nana Moon for three years

Hilda played Victoria “Nana” Moon on the soap opera from 2002 to 2005. She also appeared in Bill, Midsomer Murders and Victimwith her EastEnders role being his last. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and died in 2007 at the age of 78.

Pat Combes

Pat’s career started in radio before landing roles on shows like Hancock’s Half Hour and begging my neighbor before being cast as Marge Green on EastEnders, which she played for a year. She then starred in shows like Birds of a Feather, Boon and Doctors. She died in 2002 at the age of 75.

Paul Bhattacharjee

Paul’s career began with small roles on television and plays before being cast as Inzamam Ahmed in EastEnders, where he appeared for two years. He then appeared in films like Pretty Dirty Things, Casino Royale and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He died aged 53 in 2013 in what was later ruled a suicide following his bankruptcy.



Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features, and opinions from across the city?

MyLondon The 12’s brilliant newsletter is full of all the latest news to keep you entertained, informed and motivated.

You’ll receive 12 stories straight to your inbox around noon. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.

And what’s more, it’s FREE!

The MyLondon team tell London stories for Londoners. Our reporters cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets, so you never miss a moment.

Don’t skip a beat and sign up for The 12 newsletter here.

Ross Davidson

Andy O’Brien was played by Ross from 1985 to 1986 but his career didn’t start as an actor. He was first a physical education teacher and then played water polo. He then started getting television roles and got his EastEnders role as part of the original cast. He also appeared on Hollyoaks. He died in 2006 of a brain tumour.

Sandy Ratcliff

Sandy played Sue Osman on the soap opera from 1985 to 1989. After her acting career ended, she retrained as a counselor. She died in 2019 at the age of 70 in her sleep. A coroner attributed his death to taking too much morphine due to end-stage lung disease

Nicky Henson



Nicky played Jack on the show and also appeared in Fawlty Towers

Nicky was in Fawlty Towers, Boon, Inspector Morse, Doctors and more before landing a role as Jack Edwards on EastEnders. He played the role in 2006. He died after a long battle with cancer in 2019 at the age of 74.

Christopher Hancock

Christopher began his career in theater before being cast as Charlie Cotton in EastEnders. He died in 2004 at the age of 76 from a heart attack.

Tommy Eytle

Tommy was a musician who turned to acting when arthritis kept him from playing instruments. He played Jules Tavernier from 1990 to 1997. He died in 2007 aged 80 and is survived by his wife, Avis D’Ornellas.

Gemma McLuskie



Gemma was on the soap for a year

Gemma played Kerry Skinner between 2000 and 2001. She disappeared from her home in Shoreditch in 2012 where she was living with her brother and was later found dead at Regent’s Canal. Her brother Tony was convicted of her murder in 2013 and jailed for at least 20 years.

Ron Tarr



Ron played Big Ron

Ron Tarr’s character, Big Ron, appeared in EastEnders from 1985 to 1997. He also ran a stall in Southall Market selling spare parts for household appliances. Ron died aged 60 in 1997 from cancer.

Anna Wing

Anna played Lou Beale from 1985 to 1988 and appeared in several television roles thereafter, including The law project and Victim. She died in 2013 at the age of 98.

Leonard Fenton



Leonardo died this year

Leonard was known for playing Dr. Harold Legg on the show and was an army engineer turned actor. He portrayed the character from 1985 to 1997 and reprized his role in 2000, 2004, 2007, and from 2018 to 2019. He died in 2022 aged 95.

Previous 'It's A Sin' actor Omari Douglas will open an intergenerational dialogue about the gay experience
Next Rihanna 'plans to marry ASAP Rocky' | Showbiz