The former On the Buses and EastEnders actor Anna Karen has died in a fire at her east London home.
Heart-breaking news today as one of Britain’s comedic stars, Anna Karen has sadly perished in a house fire at the age of 85. The former On The Buses and Eastenders actress lived alone since 2008, after her husband, and comedic actor Terry Duggan died.
A statement from the London Fire Brigade said: “Part of the ground floor of a mid-terrace house was damaged by fire. Sadly, a woman was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Anna was the last surviving member of the On The Buses sitcom, in which she played Olive Rudge for five years. She also made appearances in some of the Carry On films, becoming great friends with the late Barbara Windsor, before stints in The Bill and Eastenders.
According to the Metropolitan Police, circumstances surrounding the fire which took place in Ilford, east London, do not appear to be suspicious.
Anna’s agent Shane Collins said: “It is a terrible tragedy. I loved Anna. I’ve known her since I was a kid and she’s been the most wonderful lady. I’ve been privileged to look after her as her agent for the last few years.”
Mr Collins said Anna “wasn’t able to move terribly well” and lived alone in the house that she has shared with comic actor Terry Duggan, who died in 2008.
“She was very happy there by herself. She didn’t want to be in a home. We tried to talk her into going into various places and getting secure housing and all that,” he said. “But she felt she wanted to be where Terry lived, where her husband lived.”
Born in Durban, South Africa, Anna moved to London at the age of 17 and trained at The London School of Dramatic Art. She went on to make her on-screen debut in the 1961 naturist film, Nudist Memories. Anna also played a small role in Ken Loach’s 1967 classic, Poor Cow, featuring alongside Windsor in the 1969 comedy film, Carry on Camping. Anna married Terry in ’67, helping to raise his daughter, Gloria, who he fathered from a previous relationship.
An EastEnders spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Anna Karen has passed away.
“Anna created a sharp, quick-witted and extremely popular character in Aunt Sal that the audience will never forget, just as those who worked with her at EastEnders will never forget her warmth, kindness, fun and good humour.
“Our love and thoughts are with Anna’s family and friends.”