Actress Una Stubbs, best known for roles in the film Summer Holiday and in the BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness And In Health, has died at the age of 84, her agent said.
The star, who was born in Hertfordshire in 1937, had a career in film, television and theatre spanning decades, including a recent role as Mrs Hudson in the BBC’s Sherlock opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.
A statement from her family said: “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.”
Her agent Rebecca Blond said: “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 was also a highly respected and exhibited artist. We will miss her enormously and remember her always.”
The 1963 film Summer Holiday helped to make Stubbs’ name after she starred in the musical alongside Sir Cliff Richard.
She went on to star in BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part and its sequel In Sickness And In Health, playing Rita Rawlings.
Other well-known television roles include Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge and Miss Bat in The Worst Witch, as well as a role in the Fawlty Towers episode The Anniversary.
She first appeared on screen in the 1950s in series such as Benny Hill and Rush Hour.
After her turn as Sandy in Summer Holiday, she appeared in Sir Cliff’s next film Wonderful Life and later in his BBC TV series It’s Cliff Richard!
For several years, she was a team captain in the weekly game show Give Us A Clue in the 1980s and also made appearances in Heartbeat, Benidorm, Victoria Wood’s We’d Quite Like To Apologise, The Catherine Tate Show and Agatha Christie’s Marple.
She also played Caroline Bishop in the BBC soap EastEnders and more recently appeared in The Durrells, Call The Midwife and Midsomer Murders.
In addition to her work as an actress, Stubbs was also a keen amateur painter who had her work displayed at the Royal Academy in London.
Stubbs was married to actor Peter Gilmore from 1958 to 1969, with whom she adopted son Jason, and then married Nicky Henson in 1969, before they split in 1975.
The couple had two sons, Joe and Christian, both of whom are composers.
Some of you may have known her as Rita, as Sally as Bat or Hudson but to my two brothers and I she was known as Mum. Thanks for everything Mum RIP. pic.twitter.com/78UTihny8Z
— Christian Henson (@chensonmusic) August 12, 2021
Christian wrote on Twitter: “Some of you may have known her as Rita, as Sally as Bat or Hudson but to my two brothers and I she was known as Mum.
“Thanks for everything Mum RIP.”
Sherlock co-star Cumberbatch labelled Stubbs “a wonderful, talented, stylish, gentle, joyous and honest friend”.
In a statement to the PA news agency, he added: “A joy to work with, to laugh with and to make laugh. So humble and yet so damn good.
“She lit up the room and will be sorely missed by all who were lucky enough to know her, but she will be remembered forever with fondness and love.”
EastEnders paid tribute to Una Stubbs in a tweet saying: “We are so sad to hear the heart-breaking news that Una Stubbs has passed away.
“Playing the role of Caroline Bishop, Honey’s aunty, Una will always be a much-loved part of the EastEnders family.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends. RIP.”