Funeral of golden age star of stage and screen Jean Kent

Funeral of Jean Kent
Funeral of Jean Kent
Have your say

The funeral of golden age film star Jean Kent took place in Westhorpe on Saturday.

More than 200 people filled St Margaret’s Church to pay their respects to the actress who died on November 30 at the age of 92.

Miss Kent, who rose to fame in the 1940s and 50s, was buried next to her late husband Jusuf Ramart Hurst, who died in 1989 after 43 years of marriage.

During the moving service, tributes by David Jason and Penelope Keith were read out by friend and executor Michael Thornton.

The Only Fools and Horses actor said of Jean: “She had the humility of a true actress, as opposed to a star, which she truly was, and the memory of working with her on stage will remain with me forever, along with the lovely company she shared with Jusuf on so many occasions.

“I am so pleased that I knew her and shared part of her successful life.”

During his address, Mr Thornton described how Miss Kent had worked with some of the biggest names in show business, with starring roles opposite Michael Redgrave, Dirk Bogarde, David Niven, Errol Flynn and Boris Karloff.

But he said she found acting with one star a little tiresome.

“She found working with Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl an exasperating experience,” Michael said.

“Laurence Olivier who directed and starred in the film once told me that when Jean overhead Miss Monroe’s acting coach, Paula Strasberg, telling Marilyn that she was ‘the most popular person on earth, more popular even than Jesus’, Jean’s explosive laughter could be heard from one end of Pinewood Studios to the other.”

Jean made her final stage appearance at the age of 74 at Chichester Festival Theatre in 1995 in the play Monsieur Amilcar.

Her co-star, Penelope Keith, had sent in this tribute.

“I look back with great affection on my time in Chichester with Jean and our many laughs in the dressing room.

“She had a marvellous career.

“I send thanks from the Actors’ Benevolent Fund for her support during her life of the charity.”

Miss Kent’s funeral was put back from early December for a post mortem to be carried out.

Following an investigation, Suffolk police said her death was not being treated as suspicious.