Suffolk’s senior coroner has asked police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of former film star Jean Kent after she was found collapsed at her home.

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Peter Dean has referred the 92-year-old’s death to Suffolk Constabulary, although at this stage officers stressed they are treating her death as unexplained rather than suspicious.

Miss Kent, who starred in films in the 1940s and 1950s alongside Marilyn Monroe, Michael Redgrave, James Mason and Laurence Olivier, lived in Westhorpe, near Stowmarket. She was a regular guest to film showings at the Regal Experience in Wymondham.

It is understood the former actress was found by her housekeeper on November 28. However, she died at West Suffolk Hospital two days later.

Forensic experts are said to have been to her home as part of the inquiry.

Miss Kent’s funeral was due to take place on December 7 at St Margaret’s Church in Westhorpe, but was postponed pending further enquiries into how she died.

Her close friend and former national film critic Michael Thornton said: “All this is terribly distressing to everyone who knew and loved Jean.

“We are now hoping to hold her funeral in Westhorpe on Saturday, December 21, but until the coroner releases her body nothing can be arranged.”

Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Police are trying to establish the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of an elderly lady who died on November 30, 2013.

“The ambulance service was called to the home of a 92-year-old woman in Church Road, Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, at around 11.30am on November 28 after a report that she had been found collapsed inside the house.

“The lady was taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds where she sadly died on November 30.

“As is standard procedure with sudden deaths the lady’s death is being treated as unexplained.

“Enquiries are continuing to establish the cause of death and in order for a file to be prepared for the coroner.”

Brixton-born Miss Kent made her last public appearance in November 2011, when she addressed another full house at the Wymondham Regal for a screening of The Wicked Lady.

Her career included regular appearances in Gainsborough melodramas, which were popular following the outbreak of the Second World War.

She met her husband Jusuf Ramart on the set of Caravan, one of her films, and they married in April 1946.

The couple bought a farm near Sudbury, Suffolk, in 1950s, and stayed there for 20 years until they moved to Westhorpe. Mr Ramart died from cancer in 1989.

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