Una Stubbs, the actress best known for her television roles in Sherlock, EastEnders, and BBC sitcoms like Till Death Do Us Part, has died following an unspecified illness. She was 84.
Stubbs’ family shared the sad news in a statement to Deadline. “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,” the statement read.
Born May 1st, 1937 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, the actress began her career in the late 1950s as the cover girl for Dairy Box Chocolates, a British confectionary brand. Around this time, she also played bit roles in a few British television shows and TV movies, and worked as a dancer in various clubs, cabarets and revues throughout London before making her film debut in 1963’s Summer Holiday starring crooner Cliff Richard.
In 1966, Stubbs landed her breakout role as Rita Rawlins in the BBC 1 sitcom Till Death Do Us Part. When the show quickly became a hit throughout Britain, she portrayed the married daughter of Warren Mitchell’s patriarch Alf Garnett throughout all seven seasons until 1975, and revived the role in both 1981’s Till Death… reboot and the 1985 sequel series In Sickness and in Health.
Other notable roles throughout the actress’ career included Aunt Sally in the ITV children’s series Worzel Gummidge from 1979 to 1981, a team captain in the weekly 1980s game show Give Us a Clue, Miss Bat in 1998’s The Worst Witch and a plethora of guest appearances in everything from Fawlty Towers and Midsomer Murders to Keeping Up Appearances, Agatha Christie’s Marple, and Call the Midwife.
By the 2000s, Stubbs landed a recurring arc on the popular British soap opera EastEnders, playing Caroline Bishop for six episodes in 2006. Her most notable role to modern audiences, however, was in BBC’s hit series Sherlock, where she played the titular detective’s landlady Mrs. Hudson throughout the show’s Emmy-winning run from 2010 to 2017.
Stubbs was married twice during her lifetime: first to actor Peter Gilmore from 1958 to 1969, then to fellow actor Nicky Henson from 1969 to 1975. She leaves behind three sons: Jason Gilmore, composer Christian Henson and Joe Henson.
Following her death, fans, critics and fellow actors took to social media to grieve the actress’ death and remember her life. “It was one of the great joys of my life to work so closely with and to adore Una Stubbs,” wrote Sherlock‘s Mark Gatiss. “She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a great and serenely graceful actor. Mischief was in her blood. We were so blessed that she became our imperishable Mrs Hudson. Goodbye, darling.”
“‘Mrs Hudson, leave Baker Street? England would fall!’ I guess England is about to fall then Sherlock…RIP Una Stubbs,” tweeted a fan alongside a sweet moment from the show between Stubbs and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes.
Check out some of the outpouring to posts honoring Stubbs’ memory below.
It was one of the great joys of my life to work so closely with and to adore Una Stubbs. She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a great and serenely graceful actor. Mischief was in her blood. We were so blessed that she became our imperishable Mrs Hudson. Goodbye, darling. ❤️Advertisement
— Mark Gatiss 💙 (@Markgatiss) August 12, 2021
By chance I sat next to Una at Noel Coward Theatre April 2014 for 'Good People'. We talked art & books. She said it was a compliment that she was thought of as "one of the boys" on the Sherlock set and you were all sweet, but dirty boys. She was the best.
— kathy kuhl (@kathychatter) August 12, 2021
“Mrs Hudson, leave Baker Street? England would fall!”
I guess England is about to fall then Sherlock… 😞
— Jo Day (@JoDay18) August 12, 2021
With deepest sympathy on the passing of Una Stubbs… A wonderful & talented lady. – Paul pic.twitter.com/nSn9cKm8an
— Paul Weller (@paulwellerHQ) August 12, 2021
Una Stubbs has passed away. RIP to such a beautiful talented lady. The Sherlock Community will always think of you. ❤️
— Hannah ❤️💙| Harley Quinn ❤️🖤 (@BrainyNewSexySH) August 12, 2021
Oh, this is so sad. Such a funny, lovely, gifted lady – a marvellous actress with a special style & a great (and impish) sense of humour. I first met her when she was in Cowardy Custard in 1972 & last saw her at Nicky Henson’s funeral last year. A sad day. https://t.co/0On3d0viXQ
— Gyles Brandreth (@GylesB1) August 12, 2021