Anna Karen dead: EastEnders and On the Buses star killed in horror blaze in Ilford

Olive from On the Buses and EastEnders star Anna Karen has tragically died in a house fire in East London at the age of 85

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Anna Karen stars as Aunt Sal in EastEnders in 2017

Anna Karen has died in a house fire in east London.

The EastEnders star died in the horror blaze as firefighters were called to the scene on Windsor Road, Ilford shortly after 10.30pm last night.

The crew got the fire on the ground floor of a terraced house under control in less than an hour but the actress had died by then.

The 85-year-old was best known for her role as Olive in 70s comedy On The Buses.

She also appeared in EastEnders as Aunt Sal and the sister of Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara Windsor.

Anna Karen has died in a house fire in east London

The 85-year-old was best known for her role in 70s comedy On The Buses

Confirming the tragic news, Anna’s family friend told Mail Online: “We are absolutely horrified at the news about Anna.”

Elsewhere, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson confirmed: “Sadly, a woman has died following a house fire on Windsor Road in Ilford.

“Part of the ground floor of a mid-terrace house was damaged by fire.

“Sadly a woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anna has tragically died at the age of 85

Actress Anna Karen in character as Olive Rudge in sitcom On The Buses

“The Brigade was called at 2240 and the fire was under control by 2338. Three fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Ilford and Barking fire stations attended the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

The actress was born in Durban, South Africa as Ann McCall to her Irish father and an English mother.

During her youth, Anna appeared in productions in South Africa before moving to London aged 17.

Having had a passion for acting and performing from a very young age, she enrolled in The London School of Dramatic Art once she arrived in the UK.

Anna played Aunt Sal in EastEnders



As well as a long career in film and television, she was also a theatre star.

Anna appeared in numerous pantomimes across the country.

The actress last appeared on BBC One soap EastEnders in January 2017.

Anna’s character, Aunt Sal, fast became a favourite among fans thanks to her no-nonsense nature and witty one-liners.

Anna started her acting career as a teenager

Anna Karen in The Rag Trade, 1977



Before she made her first appearance on Albert Square in 1996, Anna reprised the role of Olive in The Rag Trade in the late 1970s and had roles in two Carry On films, those being Carry On Camping and Carry On Loving.

In 2006, Anna used her experience as a striptease dancer to act as a judge in the final edition of Channel 4’s reality television documentary Faking It.

In 2008, she was also a guest on the Channel 4’s Sunday Night Project, alongside EastEnders co-star, Barbara Windsor.

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