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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 03:24 GMT 04:24 UK
On the Buses star dies

On the Buses ran for five years in the 1970s
The actress who played the long-suffering mother to Reg Varney's character in On the Buses, Doris Hare, has died at the age of 95.

Her leading role in the popular 1970s sitcom helped make her a household name.

She also counted numerous West End and Broadway appearances among her credits, in an acting career which spanned 84 years.

The actress died on Wednesday at Denville Hall, the actors' retirement home in Northwood, Middlesex.

She was much loved by audiences for her part in the popular TV show On the Buses, which ran from 1970 to 1975 and spawned three feature film spin-offs.



Hare: "No airs and graces"
Ms Hare's co-star in the series, Anna Karen, paid tribute to the actress, who she said had remarkable energy and panache.

"She was an absolutely amazing lady. I've never met a woman who was so full of life," said Miss Karen, who played Miss Hare's daughter Olive in the bus garage sitcom.

Ms Hare was born in Bargoed, South Wales, in March 1905, and made her stage debut at the age of three at the Alexander Portable Theatre, Bargoed.

Her first West End hit came at the Adelphi Theatre in 1932, when she was 27, with John Mills in Noel Coward's revue Words and Music.

Wartime entertainer

After her Broadway debut in 1936, she kept London audiences laughing during the war with her comedy role in the revue Lights Up! at the Savoy Theatre.

She was a familiar voice throughout the war on the radio series Shipmates Ashore, eventually receiving an MBE for her work as a wartime entertainer.

The actress was a leading player with the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1963, but it was her role in On the Buses which brought her widest fame.

"She was always tremendously popular because she was just so down-to-earth, not one of those grand leading ladies with airs and graces," said the author and critic Michael Thornton.

Her other TV roles included appearances in She'll Have To Go and Why Didn't They Ask Evans? in 1980.

Her final West End appearance was at the grand age of 87 at the London Palladium when she received a standing ovation alongside Sir John Mills at a tribute to Evelyn Laye.

Ms Hare, who was a widow, leaves two daughters.

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