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Leonard Fenton death: EastEnders actor dies aged 95

Fenton’s acting career spanned more than 60 years

Sam Moore
Monday 31 January 2022 13:37 GMT
Leonard Fenton stars in Eastenders in 1987 episode
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Leonard Fenton, best known for his role in Eastenders as Dr Legg has died, aged 95.

Fenton appeared in the soap’s very first episode in 1985 and last appeared on the show in 2019.

The news was confirmed by Fenton’s family in a statement which said: “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.”

The statement continued: “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.”

They concluded by saying: “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.”

Eastenders also released their own statement saying: “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.”

Between 1985 and 2019 Fenton appeared in 267 episodes of Eastenders before his character was killed off after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Legg was the GP for Walford and tended to the medical needs of the residents. He also lived in a flat in Albert Square above Ethel Skinner.

His last scenes were with June Brown’s Dot Cotton who held his hand as he passed away.

Brown also paid tribute to Fenton with a statement of her own: “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.”

Since debuting in the show’s first episode, Fenton appeared on Eastenders in a recurring capacity until 1997 and in guest appearances afterwards.

Born in the East End, Fenton originally trained as a civil engineer and was conscripted by the Army in the Second World War.

He took up acting after winning a scholarship to the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

As well as Eastenders, Fenton also appeared in shows such as The Bill, Z-Cars and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

More to come...

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