Una Stubbs, Veteran Actress Known for ‘Sherlock,’ Dies at 84
Una Stubbs, the veteran British actress best known to the American public for her role as Mrs Hudson, the landlady of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series “Sherlock”, died Thursday at her home in Edinburgh. She was 84 years old.
His death was confirmed by his agent, Rebecca Blond.
Ms Stubbs was a recognizable face in Britain, where she had appeared in comedic and dramatic roles on stage, on screen and on television for more than half a century, most notably in the long-running soap opera “EastEnders And the sitcom “Till Death Us Join in.”
American viewers knew her best as Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock Holmes’ maternal landlady in “Sherlock”. The show, which aired from 2010 to 2017, was an international hit and Ms Stubbs made Ms Hudson a fan favorite by making the character a cheerful nod to the show’s darker themes.
The owner was a bit of a ghost in Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Holmes stories the show was based on. So Ms. Stubbs and the show’s creators made Ms. Hudson a comedic parent figure with a checkered past.
“I’m a mother of three sons, so I thought this would be a good angle to continue,” Ms. Stubbs told The New York Times in 2016. “I once told Benedict that my sons go straight to the fridge and get ready, sandwiches, and he did that in one episode.
She added that the creators of “Sherlock”, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, “made me more sassy now, and a little dirty, which I like.”
Mr Gatiss echoed this statement when he said of Ms Stubbs on Twitter Thursday, “the evil was in his blood”.
“We have been so blessed that she has become our undying Mrs. Hudson,” Mr. Gatiss said.
Una Stubbs was born on May 1, 1937 in Welwyn Garden City, England, north London, the second of three children to Angela and Clarence Stubbs. She grew up in Hinckley, Leicestershire. She told the Guardian in 2013 that one of her earliest memories was hidden under a dining table as the area around her childhood home was bombed during World War II. Her father, known as Clarry, served in the Home Guard in London during the war, she said.
Ms Stubbs trained to be a dancer and in the 1950s appeared in advertisements for Rowntree’s, a British confectionery company. She would later learn that her paternal grandfather, whom she had never met, had been a confectioner for the company in York, England.
Her leading role was in the 1963 film “Summer Holiday”, a musical starring Cliff Richard, as the singer in a traveling musical trio. Other TV credits include “Fawlty Towers”, “Keeping Up Appearances”, “Call the Midwife” and “The Worst Witch”.
She is survived by her sons Christian Henson and Joe Henson, both composers and musicians, and Jason Gilmore, as well as six grandchildren.
Her marriages to actors Peter Gilmore and Nicky Henson ended in divorce, and Ms Stubbs raised her sons as a single mother. She told The Guardian that she had spent most of her life “doing two jobs, motherhood and the theater, and being average for both”.
“And now,” she added, “I’m trying to do a really good job, with a little granny on top.”
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