Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

EastEnders' Dirty Den star Leslie Grantham dies, aged 71

EastEnders' Dirty Den star Leslie Grantham dies, aged 71

The soap legend played one of EastEnders' most infamous villains, "Dirty" Den Watts, from 1985 to 1989, before making a surprise return to Albert Square 14 years later.

Grantham's character was later shot and killed by criminal gang "The Firm", departing the show in 1989, however soap bosses resurrected the character in 2003 for one of the show's most shocking storylines.

A statement from his agent said he died on Friday morning after returning to the United Kingdom from Bulgaria to receive medical attention.

"His ex-wife and sons have asked for their privacy to be respected at this hard time, and for there to be no approaches to them for information or comment".

Letitia Dean, whose character Sharon was affectionately called "Princess" by doting dad Den, also released a statement, saying: "I have special memories of working with Leslie and will cherish them always". They also ask that no photographs be taken of them in their grief. His representatives said there would be a private funeral for close friends and family.

Yorke said in a statement to the Press Association: "Everyone at EastEnders is deeply saddened to hear that Leslie has passed away".

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Grantham's management company, Advocate Agency, said he died Friday but did not disclose the cause.

He was reported to have completed filming on an upcoming low-budget film The Krays: Dead Man Walking, just before falling ill. Grantham was divorced from his wife of 31 years Jane Laurie in 2013, and is survived by his three grown-up children.

"Very sad to learn that Leslie Grantham has died", radio presenter Paul Ross wrote.

Dobson, who played Grantham's on-screen wife Angie Watts in the soap, told BBC News: "He was a good-looking guy, he was a charmer, he was amusing, he was a good actor".

His tumultuous marriage to alcoholic wife Angie captivated the nation and more than 30 million people - at the time over half of the United Kingdom population - tuned in to the 1986 Christmas special to watch Den present her with divorce papers. "Talented, kind and very amusing man".

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