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June Brown

June Brown English actress

English actress
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro English actress
Is Actor Film actor
From United Kingdom
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender female
Birth 16 February 1927, Needham Market, United Kingdom
Age: 93 years
Star sign AquariusAquarius
The details
Biography

June Muriel Brown, MBE (born 16 February 1927) is an English actress, known for her role as Dot Cotton in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 1985 until 1993, again from 1997 until 2020. In 2005, she won Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards, and in the same year, also received the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Soap Awards. In 2009, she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, but lost out to Anna Maxwell Martin. She is the second performer to receive a BAFTA nomination for their work in a soap opera (the first was Jean Alexander).

She was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to Drama and to Charity.

Early life and family

Brown was born in Needham Market, Suffolk in 1927, the daughter of Louisa Ann (née Butler) and Henry William Melton Brown. She was one of five children, although her baby brother John Peter died of pneumonia in 1932, aged 15 days, and her elder sister, Marise, died in 1934, aged eight, from a meningitis-like illness. Other than English, she has Irish, Scottish, Italian, and Sephardic Jewish descent from Oran, Algeria. On her maternal grandmother's side, Brown is descended from the Jewish bare knuckle boxer Isaac Bitton.

Brown was educated at St John's Church of England School in Ipswich and then won a scholarship to Ipswich High School where she passed the school certificate examinations. During the Second World War, she was evacuated to Pontyates, a village in Wales. During the later years of the war, she served in the Wrens, and was classically trained at The Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth.

At 23, Brown met and married actor John Garley; he suffered from depression and took his own life in 1957. In 1958, she married Robert Arnold, a regular in the BBC television programme Dixon of Dock Green. Brown and Arnold had six children in seven years, one of whom died in infancy. The couple were together for forty-five years, until he died in 2003 of Lewy body dementia. Since then she has lived alone in Surrey. She is a supporter of the Conservative Party, and told an interviewer for The Guardian: "I wouldn't vote Labour, dear, if you paid me. I vote Conservative".

Like her EastEnders character, Brown is a Christian.

Film and television career

Brown has had a long television career, with small roles in Coronation Street as Mrs Parsons (1970–71); the Play for Today, Edna, the Inebriate Woman as Clara (1971); the Doctor Who story The Time Warrior as Lady Eleanor (1973/74); the medical soap Angels; the history-of-Britain Churchill's People; long-running comedy drama Minder; the police drama soap The Bill; and cult sci-fi series Survivors. She had a bigger part as Mrs Leyton in the costume drama The Duchess of Duke Street (1976), and played Mrs Mann in Oliver Twist (1985).

She has also starred in the wartime big band comedy Ain't Misbehavin (1997), and played Nanny Slagg in the BBC's big-budget production of Gormenghast in 2000. She had a number of small roles in several movies, appearing as the grieving mother of an undead biker in British horror flick Psychomania (1971), as well as Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Sitting Target (1972), The 14 (1973), Murder by Decree (1979), Nijinsky (1980), The Mambo Kings (1992) and the Mr. Bean movie spin-off Bean (1997). She also appeared as Tom Hedden's wife in Straw Dogs (1971), although her scenes were cut from the film. In 1984, she featured in the TV mini-series Lace which starred actress Phoebe Cates.

In 2006, Brown appeared as Aunt Spiker at the Children's Party At The Palace, an all-star event to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday. In 2010, Brown took part in the annual Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing. Brown said "I'm terrified and apprehensive about what I've let myself in for, I must be barmy and I'm not sure what's come over me... I just hope I can remember the steps to the routines. I'm looking forward to working with the professional dancers and the other contestants." Her dancing partner was Vincent Simone, with whom she danced the tango.

In July 2012, Brown hosted a documentary for the BBC called Respect Your Elders, which looked at society's treatment and attitudes towards the elderly.

EastEnders and Dot

Brown was recommended to producers for the role of Dot Cotton in EastEnders by one of its original cast members, Leslie Grantham, who played Den Watts. Brown has played the role since 1985, with a break between 1993 and 1997.

On 31 January 2008, Brown became the first and, as of 2020, only soap actor to carry an entire episode single-handed. The episode, titled "Pretty Baby....", featured a monologue looking back over her character's life, dictated to a cassette machine for her husband Jim to listen to in hospital following a stroke. The fact that co-star and close friend John Bardon (who played Jim) was recovering from a stroke in real life added extra pathos to the episode. In 2009, Brown was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress. Brown's nomination came as a result of her "single-hander" episode of EastEnders, the director of which she praised.

On 30 April 2012, it was announced that Brown would take a six-month break from EastEnders and planned to write her autobiography during her time off. In October 2012, it was announced she had returned to filming, and she appeared on screen again from January 2013.

In May 2015, Brown revealed that her eyesight is failing due to macular degeneration. Later, in 2016, a storyline for Dot where her eyesight was deteriorating was introduced. Speaking about the condition in April 2019, Brown said that it had worsened since undergoing surgery in 2017, and that she does not go out socially because of her eyesight: "I never go to soap awards or suchlike now. I don't recognise people that I know and they would think I was snubbing them."

On 20 February 2020, Brown announced she had left EastEnders.

Theatre roles

Brown has also been active in British theatre. She directed Pin Money by Malcolm Needs in London, and Double D by Matthew Westwood in Edinburgh and London. She played Mrs Danvers in a touring production of Rebecca. Other plays include An Inspector Calls, The Lion in Winter, A View from the Bridge, and numerous pantomimes. During her early career, she played the roles of Hedda Gabler and Lady Macbeth.

In 2009, Brown played Jessie in the West End production of Calendar Girls at the Noël Coward Theatre. Also in the play were former EastEnders stars Anita Dobson (Angie Watts), Jill Halfpenny (Kate Mitchell) and Jack Ryder (Jamie Mitchell).

Awards and recognition

Year Result Award Category Film or series Character
1999 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2000 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Single Episode – Ethell's Emotional Death EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best On Screen Partnership – shared with Gretchen Franklin EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2001 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Dramatic Performance EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Hero of the Year EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Storyline – Dot's Schizophrenia Plot EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Storyline – Dot's Schizophrenia Plot EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2002 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won British Soap Awards Best On Screen Partnership – shared with John Bardon EastEnders Dot Cotton
2004 Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2005 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won British Soap Awards Best On Screen Partnership – shared with John Bardon EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won British Soap Awards Lifetime Achievement Award EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Couple – shared with John Bardon EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Soap Storyline – Dot's Cancer EastEnders Dot Cotton
2007 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2008 Nominated TRIC Awards Best TV Personality EastEnders Dot Cotton
2009 Nominated National Television Awards Serial Drama Performance EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated BAFTA Awards Actress in a Leading Role EastEnders Dot Cotton

Acting roles

Film

  • Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) as Woman Patient
  • Straw Dogs (1971) as Mrs Hedden (scenes deleted)
  • Sitting Target (1972) as Lomart's neighbour
  • Psychomania (1972) as Mrs Pettibone
  • The 14 (1973) as The Mother
  • Murder by Decree (1979) as Annie Chapman
  • Nijinsky (1980) as Maria Stepanova
  • Misunderstood (1984) as Mrs Paley
  • The Mambo Kings (1992) as Portly Woman
  • Bean: The Movie (1997) as Delilah
  • Margery and Gladys (2003) as Gladys Gladwell
  • Spidarlings (2016) as June
  • Ethel & Ernest (2016) as Ernest's stepmother

Television

  • The Rough and Ready Lot (September 1959) as Chica
  • Coronation Street (1970–71) as Mrs. Parsons (3 episodes)
  • Edna, the Inebriate Woman (1971) as Clara
  • Doctor Who (The Time Warrior serial) (1973–1974) as Lady Eleanor of Wessex (4 episodes)
  • South Riding (1974) as Lily Sawdon (4 episodes)
  • Churchill's People (1975) as Agnes Paston (1 episode)
  • The Sweeney (1975) as Mrs Martin (1 episode)
  • The Duchess of Duke Street (1976–1977) as Mrs Violet Leyton (6 episodes)
  • Survivors (1977) as Susan (1 episode)
  • God's Wonderful Railway (1980) as Elsie Grant (3 Episodes)
  • Lace (1984) as Mrs Trelawney (2 episodes)
  • Minder (1984) as Joany (1 episode)
  • The Bill (1984) as Mrs Doleman (1 episode)
  • Oliver Twist (1985) as Mrs Mann (1 episode)
  • EastEnders (1985–1993, 1997–2020) as Dot Cotton/Branning (2,026 episodes)
  • Gormenghast (2000) as Nannie Slagg (2 episodes)
  • Heading Out (2013) as Sozzie (1 episode)
  • June Brown at 90: A Walford Legend (2017) TV special
  • 100 Years Younger in 21 Days (2018) as herself (documentary series)
  • Hard to Please OAPS (2019) as herself (documentary series)

Theatre

  • The Rough and Ready Lot
  • Magnolia Street Story
  • An Inspector Calls
  • Nightshade
  • The Lion in Winter
  • Hedda Gabler
  • A Day Forever
  • Rebecca
  • Laura
  • Absolute Hell
  • Macbeth
  • Calendar Girls

Directed

  • Double D (play)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Reference sources
References
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7452896.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7453476.stm
https://www.genesreunited.co.uk/blog/genes-reunited-blog/archive/2011/8/2/june-brown-family-history
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013c44k
http://www.whatsontv.co.uk/soaps/eastenders/interviews/june-brown-im-like-a-mongrel/13521
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/last-nights-tv-who-do-you-think-you-arebbc1br-village-sosbbc1-2335595.html
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/passedfailed-an-education-in-the-life-of-june-brown-actress-1895198.html
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2016/02/29/dot-stands-trial-june-browns-best-moments/
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0036615
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08dmr01
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/june-brown-all-alone-in-dots-kitchen-774546.html
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