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Eastenders actress Barbara Windsor dies aged 83

Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018.

Barbara Windsor arriving for the BAFTAs in 2010.
Barbara Windsor arriving for the BAFTAs in 2010.
Image: PA Images

FAMED BRITISH ACTRESS Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in Eastenders and the Carry On franchise has died aged 83. 

Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018.

Windsor played pub landlady Peggy Mitchell in BBC soap Eastenders beginning in 1994, she soon became one of the small screen’s best-loved characters as she yelled at rogue drinkers to “get outta my pub!”.  

It became the defining role of her career and saw her star alongside Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden as her fictional sons Grant and Phil, with the late Mike Reid as her on-screen husband Frank Butcher.

The character left our screens in 2003 when Windsor took a sabbatical for medical reasons after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, but she returned as a series regular in 2005.

In 2009, she  announced she would be leaving the soap again in order to spend more time with her husband Scott, who she married in 2000.

She returned for cameo appearances in the soap over the next few years but in 2016 she played Peggy for the final time.

Before becoming synonymous with Albert Square, Windsor delighted Carry On fans with her portrayals of a “good time girl,” appearing in nine films in a series known for its bawdy humour.

She first appeared in Carry On Spying in 1964, with her final film role coming in 1974’s Carry On Dick.

One of her most famous scenes was in 1969’s Carry On Camping, when her bikini top flew off in the middle of an exercise class.

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barbara-windsor-death Windsor at Buckingham Palace in 2016. Source: PA

The actress was made a dame in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list for her services to charity and entertainment. 

Windsor’s death was confirmed this evening by her husband Scott Mitchell who said that she “died peacefully” after final weeks “full of humour and drama”.

He wrote in a statement:

It is with deep sadness that I can confirm that my darling wife Barbara passed away at 8.35 pm on Thursday 10 December at a London Care Home. Her passing was from Alzheimer’s/Dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last 7 days by her side.

Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.

Barbara’s final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve. I will always be immensely proud of Barbara’s courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could.

Dementia/Alzheimer’s remains the UKs number one killer. Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his Government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into Dementia/Alzheimer’s Research and Care.

Thank you to all the drs, nurses and carers who are angels at the Care Home for your kindness and care to Barbara and I throughout her stay with you. You are my heroes.

And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness. Barbara deeply appreciated that.

May you rest in peace now my precious Bar. I’ve lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you.

I will be making no further statements and now need the time to grieve this painful, personal loss.

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