EastEnders star Mona Hammond has sadly passed away aged 91.
The Jamaican-British star appeared in Desmond's as Susu between 1990 and 1994, and after leaving the role, she became a firm favourite with soap fans across the country as Blossom in EastEnders, a character she played between 1994 and 1997, and then later reprised in 2010.
In 1999, she portrayed Nan in the children’s TV series Pig-Heart Boy, based on a novel by Malorie Blackman.
Marcus Ryder, the chair of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts confirmed news of Hammond’s death on social media early this morning...
“It is with sadness that I wake up to the news Mona Hammond has died,” he wrote. “Among her numerous achievements she co-founded Talawa Theatre Company in 1985.
“She was also a @RADA_London graduate and received an honorary Rada Fellowship in 2019.”
Loose Women presenter Charlene White also paid tribute to the star on Twitter this morning, writing: "Mona Hammond, a trailblazer in every way. Thank-you."
Mona Hammond, a trailblazer in every way. Thank-you ❤️xx pic.twitter.com/wgc16gW35YJuly 5, 2022
Mona touched many lives over the years and tributes have been flooding in from actors who have worked with her in their careers. Each and every one of them highlighted what a joy she was to work with and thanked her for championing black British actors in the TV industry...
Mona Hammond, honoured to be her screen daughter. 💔 RIP Queen🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/8C5NDmr0toJuly 5, 2022
Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Mona Hammond. Such a beautiful joy to work with on BBC Doctors back in 2009. We went out for dinner one evening after filming - I think she got fed up of me talking so much about her brilliant character Aunty Susu’s on CH4’s Desmond ha pic.twitter.com/oPX2ay5rBlJuly 5, 2022
So sorry to hear of the passing of Mona Hammond. Had such fun working with her back in 1991. A beautifully kind and generous actor. R.I.P. X pic.twitter.com/M0TjU5TmUUJuly 4, 2022
As well as her many TV appearances, Mona was also a hugely successful stage actor, launching her career in 1968 when she starred in Softly, Softly and then in The Troubleshooters in 1969.
Mona was also celebrated for co-founding the Talawa Theatre Company, one of the country’s leading black theatre groups.
She was also awarded an OBE by the queen in 2005 for her services to drama and just one year later, in 2006, Mona was presented with the Edric Connor Inspiration Award, which is the Screen Nation Film and Television Awards’ highest honour.
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia.
After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off.
She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz!
As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.