Leslie Grantham, 71

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Research is the key in The Game Of All Games (http://www.stiffs.com), and information is precious. Therefore, DO NOT blurt out anything you may have heard about a celebrity's health, or even the fact that a famous person is really old, UNLESS that info has appeared on stiffs.com's SickTicker, OR, you have seen or heard it yourself on CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, Fox, AND the Drudge Report. When in doubt, shut the fuck up.

Please also refrain from making public the names of any write-in candidates that have not yet been approved by the Fame Committee. If you don't know what the Fame Committee is, see this immediately: www.stiffs.com/blog/kpr

Be aware, too, that this forum is NOT the place to promote your own shitty dead pool.

One more rule: have fun.

Leslie Grantham, 71

Postby CheckoutTime » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:42 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radi ... m-obituary

The actor Leslie Grantham, who has died aged 71, was one of the most written-about British TV stars of the 1980s. As Den Watts, landlord of the Queen Vic pub, he was in the original cast of EastEnders and at the centre of some of the new BBC serial’s most explosive storylines, as it took on Coronation Street in the battle of the soaps. “Everyone thought Den was a lovable rogue,” said Grantham. “He wasn’t evil – he was just Jack the lad.”

Following in the gritty style trailblazed by Brookside on Channel 4, EastEnders began in 1985 with a scene that set its tone and clearly distinguished it from what some saw as the cosiness and comedy of the Street, its ITV rival. “Dirty” Den, Arthur Fowler and Ali Osman were seen breaking down the door of Reg Cox’s flat. “Stinks in ’ere,” says Den, before they discover the old man slumped in his armchair.

The stormy marriage of Den and his wife, Angie, played by Anita Dobson, brought highly charged drama to the all-friction soap. Michelle Fowler, best friend of their adopted teenage daughter, Sharon, became pregnant after a one-night stand with Den and gave birth to a daughter, Vicki – a dark secret kept from most of Albert Square’s residents for years.

Angie did know about Den’s affair with Jan Hammond, and dealt with the knowledge by turning to alcohol, then attempting suicide. This failed to stop her husband planning to leave her for Jan, so she fabricated a story that she was dying, with just six months to live. Den took her to Venice on a second honeymoon but when he overheard her saying the illness was a lie, he proceeded with his original plans. Thirty million viewers – more than half the UK’s population – watched the 1986 Christmas Day episode as Den handed divorce papers to his wife.

Grantham went out with a bang in 1989 when gangsters supposedly shot Den dead next to a canal – the gun appeared from behind a bunch of daffodils and a splash was heard – but the actor was back in the role in 2003, when he was reportedly offered £500,000 a year to return.

In true soap fashion, the canal victim’s body had been wrongly identified and Den had fled to Spain. Back in Walford, he was embroiled in the action again, bedding both Sam and Kate Mitchell, as well as Zoe Slater, and splitting up a relationship between Sharon and Dennis, his illegitimate son. His time in Albert Square was finally over in 2005, 20 years to the week since he had first been seen in the soap, when his new wife, Chrissie, whom he had married in Spain, fatally clobbered him over the head with an iron doorstop.

Grantham’s off-screen life was just as colourful as that of his soap character. At the time of the launch of EastEnders he hit the headlines with the revelation that he had served 10 years of a life sentence after murdering a taxi driver, Felix Reese, in a botched robbery in 1966 during army service in Germany.

In 2004, during his second run in EastEnders, a newspaper printed webcam photographs of Grantham performing a sex act. Den’s demise was planned shortly afterwards.

Grantham was born in south London to Walter, who worked at Boots, and Adelaide (nee Flinders), and grew up in St Mary Cray, Kent. On leaving Hearns Rise secondary modern, and after six months as a junior research laboratory technician, he joined the Royal Fusiliers.

During the later years of his sentence for murder, at Leyhill, an open prison in Gloucestershire, Grantham performed in plays and was encouraged to consider acting as a career by a fellow inmate, the corrupt Newcastle city council leader T Dan Smith, and by the actor Louise Jameson, who was working as a prison visitor.

On his release, he trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After theatre work, he made his television debut in a 1982 BBC play, Jake’s End, and a year later had a one-off appearance in the sitcom Goodnight and God Bless. The director Matthew Robinson, who had worked with Grantham in fringe theatre, then cast him in the 1984 Doctor Who story Resurrection of the Daleks as the mechanical engineer Kiston in a mercenary company working with the Time Lord’s legendary enemies.

After several further small roles on screen – including an army sergeant in the TV epic The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and a police officer in the film Morons from Outer Space (1985) – Grantham joined EastEnders.

The resulting fame meant that when he left he was guaranteed starring roles in other programmes – as the fight promoter Eddie Burt in Winners and Losers (1989); Danny Kane in The Paradise Club (1989-90), with Don Henderson as his brother Frank, a former priest trying to steer him away from the family’s gangland connections as they take over their dead mother’s south London nightspot; and the con-turned-cop Mick Raynor in 99-1 (1994-95).

Other parts included Bob Grove in a 1991 one-off revival of the 1950s soap opera The Grove Family alongside other EastEnders, Coronation Street and Brookside stars, to mark the closure of the BBC’s Lime Grove studios; Colonel Mustard in murder re-enactments for the 1993 final series of the game show Cluedo; Ch Supt Philip Gates, investigating an alien invasion in the four-part sci-fi drama The Uninvited (1997), which Grantham created; and Boyard, the evil master of the fort and Melinda Messenger’s co-presenter in another game show, Fort Boyard, for its first four runs (1998-2001).

But roles began drying up and Grantham jumped at the chance to bring Dirty Den back from the dead for a further EastEnders run that lasted almost 18 months.

In 2011, he starred on Bulgarian TV as the title character in The English Neighbour, a four-part TV comedy based on a novel by Mihail Veshim.

He played a detective in the 2016 film Mob Handed and is still due to be seen as a gangland boss in Jack Southeast, and the detective Nipper Read in The Krays: Dead Man Walking (both 2018).

The actor’s autobiography, Life and Other Times, was published in 2006. He also wrote a children’s book, Jack Bates and the Wizard’s Spell (2016).

Following his 2013 divorce from the actor Jane Laurie, whom he married in 1981, Grantham lived in Bulgaria for several years. He is survived by their three children, Michael (“Spike”), Jake and Danny.

Leslie Michael Grantham, actor, born 30 April 1947; died 15 June 2018
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