Dirty Den actor Leslie Grantham dies EastEnders star passes away aged 71

He said the jail fostered his interest in amateur dramatics.In 2004, Grantham was exposed after taking part in webcam sex sessions from his EastEnders dressing room at Elstree Studios.He issued an apology for the scandal, which had also seen him criticise his co-stars, describing his actions as “a moment’s stupidity” of which he was “wholeheartedly ashamed”.Tributes from ‘gutted’ stars for ‘iconic’ GranthamStars who knew and worked with Leslie Grantham have paid tribute to the actor, who has died aged 71.His former EastEnders co-star Tracy Ann Oberman, who played “Dirty” Den Watts’ wife Chrissie Watts from 2004 until 2005, tweeted that she was “really sorry” to hear of his death.  Tracy-Ann Oberman Leslie Grantham as Dirty Den Watts Leslie Grantham  Anita Dobson, who played Grantham’s on-screen wife Angie Watts in EastEnders, told BBC News that her former co-star was “the archetypal charming rogue”.She said: “He was a good-looking guy, he was a charmer, he was funny, he was a good actor. And he was fun to be around, we were good mates.”But I think there’s always that kind of look about him that you just didn’t know what he was going to do next, and that was his ace in the hole, there was always that bit about him that was slightly unpredictable, which I liked and what gave him the edge on TV.” Leslie Grantham, who played EastEnders' Den Watts Dobson added: “I came from nothing, from the East End with no money, and Leslie, as you know, had a chequered life before EastEnders, but we sort of understood each other, we understood that life can be tough.”And we were fortunate, we were catapulted to an exotic place, but we were playing real people, people that we knew and we loved it.” Leslie Grantham, who played EastEnders’ Den WattsCredit:PA Citizen Khan star Adil Ray shared a Twitter exchange they once had, posting a screengrab, which showed Grantham advising him to “always eat a hearty breakfast” because “it sets you up for the day”.He wrote: “What a life Leslie Grantham led. Brilliant character in EastEnders. He was proof of how you can turn your life around.”He was kind enough to give me some nutrition advice last summer too! Rest in peace. Thoughts with Leslie’s family and friends.” Leslie Grantham as Dirty Den Watts  Tracy-Ann ObermanCredit:ITV Viewers were led to believe he had died, but the character returned to the soap in September 2003, when it was revealed he had faked his death and fled to Spain.It later emerged that, while in exile, Den had remarried. His estranged wife, Chrissie, played by Tracy-Ann Oberman, joined him in Albert Square but was incensed by his repeated infidelity. Actor Leslie Grantham, who played “Dirty” Den Watts in EastEnders, has died aged 71.Grantham, who passed away Friday morning, was known to millions of viewers for his role as adulterous Queen Vic landlord Dirty Den.More than 30 million viewers tuned in to see Den Watts serve divorce papers to wife Angie (Anita Dobson) in the famous episode on Christmas Day 1986, with the words “Happy Christmas, Ange”.Dirty Den was believed to have been shot dead by a hitman in 1989, but Grantham made a shock return to Albert Square in 2003. And some 17 million viewers watched his return to the BBC One soap.Off screen, London-born Grantham had an eventful personal life.As a teenager, in 1966 he was convicted of murdering a German taxi driver while serving as a soldier – a charge he always denied. What a life Leslie Grantham led. Brilliant character in EE. He was proof of how you can turn your life around. He was kind enough to give me some nutrition advice last summer too! Rest in peace. Thoughts with Leslie’s family and friends. pic.twitter.com/P1WjxlT5am— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) June 15, 2018 EastEnders’ executive consultant John Yorke paid tribute to Grantham on behalf of the BBC soap.Yorke said in a statement: “Everyone at EastEnders is deeply saddened to hear that Leslie has passed away.”We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”TV presenter Melinda Messenger shared a picture of herself with Grantham from their time working together on game show Fort Boyard.She tweeted: “So sad to hear about the passing of Leslie Grantham, we worked together for five years on Fort Boyard. Sending much love to his family and friends.” Actress Vicki Michelle tweeted: “Sad to hear about Leslie Grantham, great working with him in Dracula and That’s Love Often chatted while filming Eastenders and AlloAllo back in the day at Elstree Studios.”She added that she “thought he’d live forever”.Former EastEnders actor Craig Fairbrass, who played Dan Sullivan in the late 1990s, tweeted that he was “absolutely gutted” to hear of Grantham’s death.”I remember my early days in EastEnders thinking he was such a strong role model for anyone going in playing a villain great actor. Very natural which is the key,” he added. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Leslie Grantham in character as Dennis Watts with his on screen wife Anita Dobson who plays Angie She added that he was “a very very good actor and one who created an iconic character with Dirty Den”, signing the tweet off with the hashtag RIP Leslie G. Oberman’s character was known for Dirty Den’s demise in the BBC soap in the 20th anniversary episode. Leslie Grantham  So sad to hear about the passing of Lesley Grantham, we worked together for 5 years on Fort Boyard, sending much love to his family & friends xxxxx pic.twitter.com/txxMnHB8BY— Melinda Messenger (@melindamessnger) June 15, 2018 According to The Sun, the screen star had been visited in hospital in the past few days by close friends in the industry.He left the UK after splitting with his wife of 31 years, Jane. In 2010, he spent time in Bulgaria filming TV series The English Neighbour.A statement from his representative said: “We formally announce the loss of Leslie Grantham, who passed away at 10.20am on the morning of Friday 15 June 2018.”His ex-wife and sons have asked for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time, and for there to be no approaches to them for information or comment.”They will not be making any statements to the media. They also ask that no photographs be taken of them in their grief.”There will be a private funeral which will be attended by close family and friends only.” Blue singer Antony Costa, who starred alongside Grantham in Dunstable’s Cinderella pantomime in 2015, wrote: “Just heard the news my friend and ex-panto colleague Leslie Grantham has passed. RIP, big man. Loved working with you in panto. You made me laugh and I learnt a lot from you too. Absolutely gutted.”He added: “You were West Ham. I am Spurs, but that didn’t matter.” Grantham’s death comes days after he was reported to be in a critical condition in the UK having returned from Bulgaria, where he had been living.Dirty Den’s biggest storylinesLeslie Grantham played a key role in some of EastEnders’ most explosive storylines and remains one of the soap’s most famous stars.Appearing in the series’ first ever episode in 1985, Grantham starred as Den Watts – later receiving the nickname “Dirty” after getting his adopted teenage daughter’s 16-year-old friend pregnant.His tumultuous marriage to alcoholic wife Angie captivated the nation and more than 30 million people – at the time over half of the UK population – tuned in to the 1986 Christmas special to watch Den present her with divorce papers.Grantham first left Albert Square in 1989 after a criminal gang he was involved with, called The Firm, tried to kill him. She ended up killing him in the Queen Vic, beating him over the head with an iron doorstop.Eventually, Chrissie was jailed for the crime and Den was buried in his original grave next to Angie.Grantham’s final appearance in EastEnders was on the soap’s 20th anniversary.The real-life scandal of the rogue starAs a teenager, in 1966 Grantham was convicted of murdering a German taxi driver while serving as a soldier – a charge he always denied.He served an 11-year sentence and later returned to Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire as a VIP guest to open an art exhibition. Leslie Grantham in character as Dennis Watts with his on screen wife Anita Dobson who plays AngieCredit:BBC


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