Leslie Grantham was trying to revive his career when he was struck with a serious illness.
The actor, famous for playing Dirty Den in EastEnders, is fighting for his life in hospital.
But just days before he fell ill, he had completed filming on low-budget film The Krays: Dead Man Walking.
It’s reported that the 71-year-old hoped it would make him a household name once again after he’d lived away from the UK for years.
The actor moved to Bulgaria after separating from his wife, Jane Laurie.
A friend told the Daily Star : "He was happy to be home in England and had hoped this was going to put him back in the spotlight. He was ready to return to acting with a bang but it seems like he’s been cursed."
Leslie starred as Nipper Read in the movie, the police officer who famously arrested the notorious twins in 1968.
Fellow EastEnders stars Nicholas Ball and Rita Simons also had roles in the Brit flick.
Leslie is being closely monitored by doctors and his agent has confirmed that he’s "poorly".
A spokeswoman said: "He remains poorly and is being taken care of by medical staff."
Leslie caused a huge stir in EastEnders with his character, the adulterous landlord of the Queen Vic.
From getting the 16-year-old friend of his adopted daughter pregnant to tricking his son’s girlfriend into sleeping with him, his Lothario ways were always getting him into trouble.
He sensationally left the show in 1989 after being apparently killed by a group of criminals who hunted him down.
But he made a shock return in 2003, when it turned out he’d actually been living in Spain all along.
He’s faced as much controversy in his own life.
In 1966, Leslie was convicted of murdering a taxi driver named Felix Reese, in West Germany during his National Service.
And in 2004, he issued an "unreserved apology" after it was revealed he took part in internet sex sessions.
He said he was "wholeheartedly ashamed" of his behaviour.
Then 57, it was revealed he spent hours in his dressing room at BBC studios indulging in his sordid desires on the internet and sending pictures of himself to younger women.
Leslie made a donation to charity in order to apologise for his actions and also paid "personal tribute" to the four co-stars he allegedly criticised in an online chatroom.
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