The funeral of stage and screen legend Jean Kent has had to be cancelled at the insistence of a coroner.

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Acting star Jean Kent, who as one of Britain’s top box-office stars in the 1940s and 1950s, died on Saturday at the age of 92.

The funeral was to have taken place at 12 noon this Saturday, December 7, at St. Margaret’s Church, Westhorpe, close to the star’s secluded home in the village.

However it has been put on hold pending further investigation into her death.

The actress was injured in a fall at her home in the Suffolk village of Westhorpe, near Bacton, on Thursday.

She was taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds where she died at 3.40am on November 30.

Police have not indicated that there are any suspicious circumstances in the death.

Miss Kent’s close friend and executor; author and former film critic Michael Thornton, said: “The coroner feels that the cause of her death is uncertain and has therefore ordered a post-mortem.

“People were travelling long distances to attend the service, and we are now trying to contact them all. It is quite a problem.”

Kent made her last public appearance in June, 2011, when she was honoured by the British Film Institute (BFI) on her 90th birthday. It screened one of her films, Caravan, at BFI Southbank in London.

Her career included regular appearances in Gainsborough melodramas, which were popular with large numbers of newly-independent women following the outbreak of the Second World War.

Her co-stars during her film career included Marilyn Monroe, Michael Redgrave and Laurence Olivier.

Kent was born in Brixton, south London, on June 29, 1921, the only child of variety performers Norman Field and Nina Norre.

She met her husband Jusuf Ramart on the set of Caravan and they married in April 1946. He died from cancer in 1989.

Mr Thornton added: “I knew Jean for more than 50 years. She was a feisty, funny, outspoken character who never took herself too seriously. She knew what it meant to be a star, and regarded it as her job to live up to that position and never to disappoint the public.

“Because she became one of the most famous stars of the Gainsborough era, with its bodice-ripping melodramas, she was underrated as an actress. But she was a great actress.”