Soap actress Anna Karen has left an overwhelming majority of her fortune to former EastEnders co-star Sophie Lawrence in her will after she passed away in a house fire earlier this year.
According to the Mirror, Anna Karen, who was most famous for her role as Olive in One the Buses, has left an eye-watering amount of her fortune to her former co-star Sophie Lawrence. The late actress died in a horrific blaze in February as her terrace home in Ilford, East London was engulfed in flames. Reports from the police later revealed that the fire was triggered by a cigarette after Karen nodded off while smoking.
Karen left 65 percent of her estate to Lawrence
A source told The Sun earlier this year about her tragic death:
'She was apparently in bed at the time of the fire. It’s thought she fell asleep with a cigarette.'
Karen's will later revealed that Sophie Lawrence, an English actress who co-starred alongside Karen in EastEnders, would receive the bulk of her fortune. Lawrence, 50, used to play Diane Butcher on the BBC soap between 1988 and 1991.
Probate records obtained by the DailyMail show that a whopping 65 percent of her net estate would go to Lawrence, excluding funeral payment, legal costs, and inheritance tax. Another £1,500 legacy will be received by another friend, whose identity remains unknown.
A further fifth of Karen's wealth would go to her stepdaughter Gloria, the daughter of her actor husband Terry Duggan who died in 2008. Another eight was allocated to four other friends and relatives, while the remaining 2.5 percent was left to the Actors' Benevolent Fund. It is a non-profit organization seeking to support actors and stage managers suffering from hardship owing to illness, injury or old age.
Regarding Karen's decision to leave most of her wealth to Lawrence, her stepdaughter Gloria Gill said she is 'pleased'. The 71-year-old explained that Lawrence has kept her mother and father company for many years and she deserved the money. Gill said:
'But I wasn't expecting to get any money, I was very pleased that she left it to Sophie. I knew she was going to give the money to Sophie. Sophie has looked after my dad and Anna very well and because I live all the way up here I was a bit limited to what I could do.'
Gill, a former office staff, added:
'She is a lovely girl, Sophie, and she deserves it all. She has really looked after the two of them - my dad and Anna. She has known them for years.'
EastEnders pays tribute to soap legend
Born on 19 September 1936, Anna Karen was one of the most respectable soap stars in the industry. She rose to fame as Olive Rudge, starring in 74 episodes of the ITV sitcom On The Buses as well as its three spin-off films. She was also famous as Aunt Sal in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, which she played from 1996 to 2017. Her portfolio also includes film comedies Carry On Camping and Carry On Loving, Roland Rat: The Series, and The Sooty Show, to name a few.
Following Karen's passing, her family said they were 'horrified': 'We are absolutely horrified at the news about Anna.'
An EastEnders spokeswoman released a statement to pay tribute to the late actress: 'We are deeply saddened to hear that Anna Karen has passed away.'
They continued, complimenting on Karen's 'warmth, kindness fund, and good humor':
'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.'