A British soap legend is gone. Dame Barbara Windsor, best known for playing the iconic Peggy Mitchell on EASTENDERS, died at the age of 83. She passed away peacefully from Alzheimer’s at a London care home on Dec. 10.
Windsor’s first role was in 1954’s The Belles of St. Trinians, but she became famous for playing a “good time girl” in the Carry On film series in the ‘60s and ‘70s. When EASTENDERS premiered in 1985, producers didn’t want to cast well-known actors in roles but by 1994 that policy was more relaxed and Windsor took over the role of Peggy Mitchell, taking her from a minor character to a powerful family matriarch who ran the Queen Victoria pub. During her time with the soap, she won the Best Actress award at the 1999 British Soap Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
For two years, Windsor was forced to take a break from EASTENDERS because she was suffering from the Epstein-Barr virus, but she rejoined the cast in 2005 full-time. In 2010, she chose to leave the soap to spend more time with her husband, though she made a handful of guest appearances in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
In 2014, Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but her condition was not made public until 2018. In 2019, she and her husband, Scott Mitchell, became ambassadors for the Alzheimer’s Society, hoping to bring awareness to dementia and urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to address the challenges of the disease.
Our thoughts are with Windsor’s friends and family during this difficult time.