Charity 'let down' actress Anna Karen, 85, killed in a house fire
2nd October 2022

Actors charity ‘let down’ On The Buses star Anna Karen, 85, who was killed in a house fire

  • On The Buses star Anna Karen died in a fire at her East London home in February 
  • 85-year-old actress was beneficiary of the 140-year-old Actors’ Benevolent Fund 
  • Sources there say bosses said they were unable to relocate bedbound Ms Karen
  • One source told the Mail on Sunday: ‘Anna Karen didn’t need to die in that fire’ 

A prestigious actors’ charity has been accused of ‘failing’ On The Buses star Anna Karen after she died in a fire at her home earlier this year.

Bedbound Ms Karen, 85, was killed when a blaze ripped through the ground floor of her home in Ilford, East London, in February.

The actress, who also appeared in EastEnders, was a beneficiary of the 140-year-old Actors’ Benevolent Fund (ABF), of which King Charles is Royal Patron.

Anna Karen was best known for her role as Olive in the 1970s sitcom On The Buses

ABF has been accused of failing to find Ms Karen a home where she could receive appropriate care.

Charity sources claim bosses said they were unable to relocate Ms Karen to a home where she could live with her dog, even though a trustee had found homes willing to take them.

One source said: ‘Anna Karen didn’t need to die in that fire. The older trustees fought so hard for people like Anna. 

The actress, who also appeared in EastEnders , was a beneficiary of the 140-year-old Actors’ Benevolent Fund (ABF), of which King Charles is Royal Patron. Pictured: Anna Karen in 2020

‘When [ABF bosses] said that Anna could not be accommodated in a home because of her dog, an older trustee actually phoned round and found care homes that would take Anna with her dog…but [ABF bosses] knew better and never took that forward.’

Ms Karen played Olive Rudge, right, in sitcom On The Buses between 1969 and 1973, and Peggy Mitchell’s sister Auntie Sal in EastEnders from 1996 to 2017. 

The former actress left the bulk of her £430,000 estate to fellow former Eastenders actress Sophie Lawrence while 2.5 per cent went to the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.

It came as the charity is mired in a tug of war between older trustees including veteran TV star and president Penelope Keith, Dame Sian Phillips, of I, Claudius fame, and Likely Lads actor Mr Bolam who were ousted from the charity earlier this year over a bullying and harassment row.

The fund, established in 1882, has assets of £30million and spends more than £1million a year helping actors or stage managers experiencing hardship.

An ABF spokesman said: ‘Anna Karen was a long-term beneficiary of the charity and she received the financial support she had wanted.’ 

Source: Read Full Article