Oscar-winning actor Olympia Dukakis, has died at the age of 89.
Allison Levy, her Innovative Artists agent, said Olympia died Saturday at her home in New York City. His cause of death was not given.
Olympia’s brother, Apollo Dukakis, also announced his death in a publication in Facebook, writing: “My dear sister … died this morning in New York City. After many months of failed health, he is finally at peace.
Olympia gained prominence in 1987 when she was 56, following her role as Rose in Moonstruck.
She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the film, while Cher took home the trophy for Best Actress.
Olympia won her Oscar for an astonishing chain of circumstances, beginning with the recommendation of author Nora Ephron to play Meryl Streep’s mother in the film version of Ephron’s book Heartburn.
He got the role, but his scenes were cut from the film. To make up for it, director Mike Nichols launched it into his successful Social Security play. Director Norman Jewison saw her in this role and cast her in Moonstruck.
Her Oscar win saw the arrival of film roles, playing Kirstie Alley’s mother in Look Who’s Talking Too and its sequel Look Who’s Talking Too, the sardonic widow of Steel Magnolias and the arrogant wife of Jack Lemmon (and mother of Ted Danson) to the father.
But the stage had been his first love.
“My ambition was not to win the Oscar,” he commented after winning Moonstruck. “It was playing the big parts.”
She did so in New York productions such as Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo.
For two decades he directed the Whole Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey, specializing in classical dramas.
Olympia was married to actor Louis Zorich for 56 years before she died in 2018, and they had three children, Christina, Peter and Stefan.
Following the news of her death, Cher was one of the people who paid tribute and called her an “amazing” actress.
He added: “Olympia played my mother in Moonstruck and although her part was that of a woman who suffers, we [laughed] All the time.
“She would tell me how much she loved Louis, her ‘beautiful talent, husband.’
“I spoke to her 3 weeks ago. Rip Dear. “
Other tributes were shared online …
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