Anna Karen Wiki – Biography
Actress Anna Karen has died in a house fire in east London – after neighbours heard screams of ‘help me, help me’ coming from inside the wheelchair-bound star’s home.
Tributes have flooded in for the star – who was lifelong friends with Barbara Windsor – this afternoon, including from Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker, who described her as ‘an absolute treasure, both on and off the screen.
She was 85 years old.
Anna Karen Dies in House Fire
Fire chiefs are still investigating the cause of the tragic inferno, which a crew of around 20 firefighters was called to tackle at about 10.30 pm on Windsor Road, Ilford, last night.
The blaze was brought under control on the ground floor of her terraced house within an hour, but emergency workers could not save the star, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
This afternoon, a family friend said this afternoon: ‘We are absolutely horrified at the news about Anna.’
Neighbors told MailOnline they were alerted to the fire after hearing screams of ‘help me, help me,’ coming from inside Karen’s home.
Sumi Popat, 62, said: ‘It was around 10.30pm and we could hear loud screams of ‘help me, help me.’ I rushed out and there was smoke coming out of Anna’s house and the screams for help got louder. Some of us immediately called the fire brigade.’
She was the last surviving cast member from the 1970s sitcom, in which she played Olive Rudge, the downtrodden sister of Reg Varney’s bus driver Stan.
She also appeared in some of the Carry On films, becoming a close friend of the late Barbara Windsor, and then in EastEnders until 2017 as Aunt Sal.
She boasted a bulging CV of acting credits, including appearances in the Carry On films and a string of pantomimes – but she will be fondly remembered for her role as Olive in 70s comedy On The Buses.
She also starred as Aunt Sal, sister of Peggy Mitchell, in EastEnders for which she was best known – an on-and-off part spanning more than 20 years.
Karen was married to fellow comedic actor Terry Duggan, who also appeared in On The Buses as Nobby while also featuring in Only Fools and Horses and Are You Being Served? He died in 2008, aged 76.
Mr Collins said Karen “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.”
Windsor’s widow, Scott, told Mail Online he was “desperately sad and shocked.”
He added: “Anna had seen Barbara go through every stage of her life, and their late-night phone calls together before Barbara’s illness will always be a fond memory for me of hearing them put the world to rights.