Actor Leonard Fenton, who played Dr Harold Legg in EastEnders, has died at the age of 95.
He appeared in the first episode of the BBC soap in February 1985, with his last scenes airing in 2019.
A statement from his family 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.
“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.
“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.”
Leonard Fenton’s family have shared a statement with us, announcing that he has very sadly passed away, at the age of 95. To read the full statement, please visit our official EastEnders Facebook or Instagram pages. Our love and thoughts are with Leonard's family and friends. pic.twitter.com/jjd6A8Fchx
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) January 31, 2022
An EastEnders spokesman said: “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.”
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) February 15, 2019
Fenton appeared in a total of 267 episodes of EastEnders, with viewers saying a final farewell to his character in 2019.
The character was a close friend of Dot Cotton, played by June Brown, as he entertained her hypochondria and seemingly endless list of ailments.
Brown paid tribute to the actor, saying he was a “charming man in all ways”.
In a statement, she said: “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.”
Dr Legg was written out of the soap in emotional scenes which aired in 2019, after he had returned to tell Dot that he had terminal cancer.
Other members of the cast also remembered Fenton, with Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler, saying: “I had the pleasure to work with Leonard. He was utterly charming, continuously joked with me and loved talking about his past. I feel honoured that our paths crossed. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
Actress Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale, said: “I’m so sorry to hear the very sad news about Leonard. He was a lovely, charming man who was so kind and always told the most wonderful stories. I send my love and condolences to his family. RIP dear Leonard.”
Cheryl Fergison, known for playing Heather Trott in the BBC soap, posted a message on Instagram with a red love heart: “Sad news Leonard Fenton (Dr Legg) has passed away … @bbceastenders casting the best in great characters … lovely man and talented actor.”