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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jessica Sansome

BBC EastEnders Dot Cotton icon June Brown leads tribute as co-star Leonard Fenton dies aged 95

EastEnders star Leonard Fenton has died at the age of 95.

The actor will be best known among the BBC One's soaps loyal fans for playing Walford's much-loved GP, Dr Harold Legg.

He appeared in the first episode of EastEnders in February 1985, with his last scenes airing in 2019.

A statement from his family confirmed the sad news.

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It read: "The family of the actor Leonard Fenton are heartbroken to announce his death at the age of 95 on Saturday January 29. Best known for his role as Dr Legg on EastEnders, Leonard’s acting career spanned more than 60 years.

"He worked in TV and film and his long stage career included time at the National Theatre and most recently the Royal Shakespeare Company. He felt privileged to have worked with some of the greats of the theatre, including Samuel Beckett, Orson Welles and Jonathan Miller.

"His passion for painting and singing pre-dated his acting career and was equally as important to him. He will be missed beyond words by his family.

"We feel incredibly lucky to have been able to be with him as his health worsened towards the end – a privilege denied to so many during these tough times."

An EastEnders spokesperson added: "We are deeply saddened to hear that Leonard has passed away.

"Since appearing in the very first episode of EastEnders, Leonard created a truly iconic character in Doctor Legg who will always be remembered.

"Our love and thoughts are with Leonard’s family and friends."

He appeared in a total of 267 episodes of EastEnders, with viewers saying a final farewell to his character in 2019.

The character was a close friend of Dot Cotton, played by the legendary June Brown, as he entertained her hypochondria and seemingly endless list of ailments.

EastEnders actress June has paid tribute to her co-star.

Leonard with EastEnders icon June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton (PA)

Brown played Dot Cotton, who was a regular patient of Dr Legg in the soap.

She said in a statement: "I first met Leonard as Dr Legg when I joined the cast of EastEnders as Dot, his hypochondriac patient, in 1985. He was a charming man in all ways, first as a person and then as an actor, extremely polite and kind.

"I enjoyed working with him enormously for many years and missed him when he retired. I was glad that I’d been with him for his last scene with Dot at his bedside and my thoughts are with his devoted family."

Other members of the cast have also remembered Fenton, with Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler, saying: “I had the pleasure to work with Leonard. He was utterly charming, continuously joked with me and loved talking about his past.

"I feel honoured that our paths crossed. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Cathy Beale ctress Gillian Taylforth said: "I'm so sorry to hear the very sad news about Leonard. He was a lovely, charming man who was so kind and always told the most wonderful stories. I send my love and condolences to his family. RIP dear Leonard."

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