Edna Dore, whose career has spanned over 50 years, has died aged 92.
The actress, best known for playing battleaxe Mo Butcher in EastEnders, died peacefully in her sleep on April 11, her agent Belinda Wright told the BBC News website.
She said: “I’d known her for more than 30 years and she was a wonderful actress and great fun.”
Edna – who also starred in Mike Leigh’s High Hopes and Gary Oldman’s Nil By Mouth – portrayed Mike Reid’s on-screen mother on the BBC soap between 1988 and 1990, where she received wide acclaim for showing the character’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease.
She has also appeared in the West End, and on TV shows such as Open All Hours, The Bill, Casualty, Doctor Who and Shameless.
Paul O’Grady, who starred opposite the actress in bingo comedy Eyes Down, paid tribute to her on his BBC Radio 2 show on April 13, describing her as ‘a remarkable lady’.
“I’ve never had so many laughs, she was just a bundle of fun,” he said. “We got sent home from rehearsals one day for laughing. I won’t tell you why but Edna said: ‘In my 70 years in the business, I’ve never been sent out of rehearsals’. She had a remarkable career. She might be gone but she’s not forgotten by me. I had a ball with Edna, what a laugh she was.”
Mike Leigh, who also worked with Edna on All Or Nothing and Another Year, wrote in the Guardian: “Edna Dore swore like a trooper, smoked like a chimney, detested b******* and didn’t suffer fools.
“She initially approached the rehearsals for High Hopes with a healthy scepticism, but once she trusted having no script, improvising in character, and me, she entered into the spirit of the thing with unbounded enthusiasm, even playing some scenes with her teeth out.”
He added: “She was very funny – her filthy jokes were legendary. We will all miss her no-nonsense wit, her generosity, and, above all, her uniquely truthful acting.”