Veteran English actress Una Stubbs has died at the age of 84, her agent confirmed.
Stubbs died in her home in Edinburgh surrounded by her family. She had been ill for a few months.
In a statement, her family said: “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.”
Her agent said: “We are desperately sad to have lost not only a wonderful actress, whose screen and stage career, spanning over 50 years, was so extraordinarily varied, from Till Death Us Do Part to Sherlock, as well as memorable performances in the West End, at the Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre, but also a wickedly funny, elegant, stylish, graceful, gracious and kind and constant friend.
“She was also a highly respected and exhibited artist. We will miss her enormously and remember her always.”
Mark Gatiss, who worked with Stubbs on Sherlock, led tributes on Twitter.
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. ❤️— Mark Gatiss 💙 (@Markgatiss) August 12, 2021
Star of the stage, small and silver screens, Stubbs, a former dancer, shot to fame after appearing in Summer Holiday opposite Cliff Richard, after which she starred in his next film, Wonderful Life.
She is also known for portraying Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge and, more recently, Mrs Hudson in the BBC’s hit drama Sherlock.
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Stubbs found her place in the hearts of TV comedy fans with her turn as Rita in Till Death Do Us Part.
Her TV career also boasted roles in Casualty, Heartbeat, Keeping Up Appearances, EastEnders and Call The Midwife. She appeared in one episode of the latter in 2015.
She also starred in numerous theatre productions, including Don Carlos alongside Derek Jacobi, Pygmalion and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre back in 2012.
In 2013, Stubbs spoke to RadioTimes.com about her role as Sherlock Holmes’ (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson’s (Martin Freeman) delightful landlady Mrs Hudson in Sherlock.
“When I was young we used to stay in digs with landladies, and I really enjoyed the places where the landladies were motherly. And because I’ve got three sons I’m used to being with boys, so I thought I could use that,” she explained, also revealing that she received a lot of fan mail.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2012, the self-effacing actress said: “My agent gets furious when I say this, but, with work, I’ve always stepped over. I was a chorus girl, then I was an individual dancer, then I stepped over from being a dancer into sitcom. I hadn’t had any acting training, so I was very aware of that, and now I just think, ‘Oh, I hope I can be good enough.’
“With Benedict and Martin, I just think, ‘I don’t want to let the side down,'” she continued.
Of the maternal Mrs Hudson, she added: “I just saw her more like a mother figure to these two boys. There’s so much nastiness going on [in the series] that maybe to introduce something a little nicer is a good thing.”