We feel tremendous sadness.
The late Mona Hammond, who passed away on July 4 at the age of 91, has been honoured by EastEnders.
From 1994 through 1997, Hammond, a prominent actor on both the stage and the film, portrayed Blossom Jackson on the BBC One soap opera. When Blossom went to her great-grandson Billie’s funeral in October 2010, she returned to the role for two more episodes.
A spokeswoman for EastEnders said that everyone is “deeply grieved” by the death of Hammond, who starred in 233 episodes of the long-running programme.
In a statement, EastEnders said: “We are profoundly saddened to learn about Mona Hammond’s passing. Blossom Jackson, the gruff grandma Mona developed, was adored by the audience and by everyone who worked with her.
“Mona’s family and friends are in our hearts and in our thoughts,”
The Talawa Theatre Company, which aims to “promote Black excellence in theatre,” was founded by Hammond, who also had a successful soap opera career and was a regular performer on stage.
Talawa Theatre Company paid tribute to Hammond by stating: “We are heartbroken to learn of Mona Hammond OBE’s demise. Mona’s enthusiasm and vision will continue to be crucial to everything we do as one of the founding members of Talawa, a trailblazer, and a champion of Black British theatre. Her legacy will forever burn bright.
2019 saw the appointment of Hammond as an Honorary Fellow of RADA, a distinction that honours “both high profile and unheralded” persons for their contributions to the theatre profession. At the beginning of her acting career in 1961, she received a RADA scholarship.
In the ground-breaking Channel 4 sitcom Desmond’s and its spinoff Porkpie, Hammond played Auntie Susu.
She also made appearances in shows like Doctor Who, White Teeth, Death in Paradise, A Touch of Frost, Doctors, Chef!, Whitechapel, Holby City, Death in Paradise, and the BAFTA-winning drama Pig Heart Boy.
Additionally, she starred in movies including Kinky Boots, 10,000 BC, and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave.
Presenters Charlene White of Loose Women and ITV News joined those paying tribute to Hammond and thanked her for being a “trailblazer.”
Hammond was described as “a fantastic performer and a pioneering woman… 91 years of inspiration” by her fellow EastEnders co-star Cheryl Fergison.
Pioneer. Mona Hammond. Skilled. Funny. Paterson Joseph stated, “And generous to me as a young actor. What an age group! On their shoulders, we stand. Infinitely Forgotten