Mona Hammond: Legendary Eastenders star dies aged 91

Legendary Eastenders star, Mona Hammond, has died.

One of the first women of colour to play Lady Macbeth, Mona Hammond was a star of stage and screen.

Also famous for roles in Eastenders, playing Blossom Jackson, she died aged 91.

Hammond was made an OBE in the 2005 Queen's birthday honours list for her services to drama.

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In 2018, she was awarded the Women of the World lifetime achievement award for her theatre career and championing black British actors.

Former EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison led tributes to Hammond on Tuesday, describing her as an "inspiration".

She wrote on Instagram: "What a wonderful actress and pioneering woman, RIP Mona Hammond 91 fantastic years of inspiration."

Similarly, Loose Women presenter Charlene White wrote: "Mona Hammond, a trailblazer in every way. Thank you."

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The Jamaican-British actress, best known for playing Blossom Jackson in BBC soap EastEnders and Auntie Susu in sitcom Desmond's, was a star of stage and screen for decades. Myung Jung Kim/PA Wire

Marcus Ryder MBE, chair of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, tweeted this morning: “It is with sadness that I wake up to the news Mona Hammond has died.

"Among her numerous achievements she co-founded Talawa Theatre Company in 1985.

“She was also a RADA London graduate and received an honorary RADA Fellowship in 2019.”

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Hammond was born Mavis Chin in Jamaica to a Jamaican mother and Chinese father, and in 1961 was awarded a scholarship to Rada. She graduated in 1964 having moved to the UK at the age of 28.

Additional reporting by PA.

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