EeHH.CO.UK

We Are The Future

'Trailblazer' EastEnders star Mona Hammond dies

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

'Trailblazer' EastEnders star Mona Hammond dies

Actress Mona Hammond, who was was best known for her roles in EastEnders and Desmond's, has died aged 91.

Actress Mona Hammond was renowned for her work on both stage and screen, and was awarded an OBE in 2005

Actress Mona Hammond was renowned for her work on both stage and screen, and was awarded an OBE in 2005

The Jamaican-British actress passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday morning, her agent confirmed.

With a career spanning seven decades, and recognised for both her work on stage and screen, she was awarded an OBE for her services to drama in 2005.

For many, Hammond's defining role was Blossom Jackson in EastEnders - a part that brought her into millions of living rooms several times a week.

She played the matriarch of the Jackson family from 1994 to 1997, briefly returning again in October 2010 to attend her on-screen great-grandson Billie Jackson's funeral.

In a statement, EastEnders said: "We are deeply saddened to hear that Mona Hammond has passed away.

It was her role of Blossom Jackson that made her an instantly recognisable face to many. Pic: News Group/Shutterstock
 Rex FeaturesIt was her role of Blossom Jackson that made her an instantly recognisable face to many. Pic: News Group/Shutterstock

"Mona created a no-nonsense grandmother in Blossom Jackson, who was adored by the audience and everyone who worked with her. Our love and thoughts are with Mona's family and friends."

It was actually Hammond's second part in the BBC soap, having previously played the much smaller role of Michelle Fowler's midwife in 1986.

Hammond also won a place in many people's hearts for her role of Auntie Susu in ground-breaking sitcom Desmond's, as well as spin-off show Porkpie.

With a predominantly black cast and crew, the barber shop comedy became one of Channel 4's longest running sitcoms in terms of episodes.

Her numerous other TV roles included Coronation Street, Doctor Who, Casualty, The Sweeney, Chef! starring Lenny Henry, children's TV series Pig-Heart Boy, based on a novel by Malorie Blackman and White Teeth, the adaptation of Zadie Smith's debut novel.

Hammond came to the UK from Jamaica in 1959, and worked hard to make it as an actress. Pic: Monty Fresco/ANL/Shutterstock
 Rex FeaturesHammond came to the UK from Jamaica in 1959, and worked hard to make it as an actress. Pic: Monty Fresco/ANL/Shutterstock

One of her final performances was in Channel 4 drama Run, starring Lennie James and Olivia Colman.

Hammond was also an occasional actress in the BBC radio soap opera The Archers.

Her film credits include musical comedy Kinky Boots in 2006 and the 2008 action movie 10,000 BC, directed by Roland Emmerich.

Fans, friends and fellow performers were quick to pay tribute to the star, with the chair the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts (RADA) Marcus Ryder confirming the news on social media, writing: "It is with sadness that I wake up to the news Mona Hammond has died

Hammond chatting with the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House in 2018
 PAHammond chatting with the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House in 2018

"Among her numerous achievements she co-founded Talawa Theatre Company in 1985. She was also a @RADA_London graduate and received an honorary RADA Fellowship in 2019."

Former EastEnders actress and pop star Michelle Gayle writing: "A trailblazer. A Queen."

Comedian and actress Kathy Burke wrote: "I'm so lucky to have seen Mona in loads of theatre productions in the 80's/early 90's. Always a massive favourite with audiences, she could blow the roof off with her genius comic timing. RIP Magnificent Mighty Mona."

Replying, fellow comedian and actress Meera Syal wrote: "I was lucky enough to share a stage with her in a production of Blood Wedding -phenomenal actress and human being. Rest In Power."

Actress Cherrelle Skeete, who starred in the stage production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, wrote: "Because of her we can. We know the mountains you moved".

Playwright Roy Williams simply tweeted: "We are here because she was there."

Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules praised the actress and those who had helped looked after her in what he called her "Final Curtain".

Hammond was born Mavis Chin in Jamaica on New Year's Day in 1931, to a Jamaican mother and Chinese father.

Moving to the UK in 1959 aged 28 on a Jamaican Scholarship, she initially worked for a firm of architects in London during the day and spent the evenings studying at adult education college City Lit.

In 1961, Hammond was awarded a scholarship to RADA, following her dream to perform and graduating in 1964. She spent the rest of her life working as a professional actress.

Starting her career on the stage, Hammond's first leading role was Lady Macbeth at the Roundhouse in 1970 in Peter Coe's African version of the play. She later spent two years in productions at the National Theatre.

In 1986, Hammond co-founded Talawa Theatre, a company which championed black British actors.

A Jamaican patois term translating as gutsy and strong, Talawa is now one of the UK's most prominent black theatre companies.

Hammond, who married once, leaves behind a son, Matthew. 

Reference: Sky News: Bethany Minelle, arts & entertainment reporter

Articles - Latest

Articles - Most Read

Social Media Links Genius

Login

Login

BREAKING NEWS FEEDS -TOP STORIES

All: BreakingNews.ie

Ireland's premier breaking news website providing up to the minute news and sports reports. With e-mail news releases following breaking stories throughout the day.

Who's On Line

We have 147 guests and 2 members online

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.

Ok
X

Right Click

No right click