Cleveland, Ohio 2021-05-01 17:19:27 –
Maplewood, NJ (AP) —Olympia Dukakis, a veteran stage and screen actress who helped win Oscar as Cher’s mother in the romantic comedy Moonstruck, has died. She was 89 years old.
According to Innovative Artists agent Allison Levy, Dukakis died Saturday morning at his home in New York City. The cause of death was not immediately revealed.
Dukakis won the Oscar in a surprising series of situations, beginning with writer Nora Ephron recommending to play Meryl Streep’s mother in the movie version of Ephron’s book Heartburn. Dukakis played that role, but her scene was cut out of the film. To make up for her, director Mike Nichols cast her in his hit play “Social Security.” Director Norman Jewison starred in “Moonstruck” after seeing her play the role.
Dukakis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and Cher brought back the Best Supporting Actress trophy.
She called the 1988 victory the “Year of Dukakii.” It was also the year her cousin, Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis, was a Democratic presidential candidate. At the ceremony, she held Oscar over her head and shouted, “OK, Michael, let’s go!”
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Dukakis has longed to be an actress from an early age and wanted to study theater at university. Her parents of Greek immigrants insisted that she pursue a more practical education, so she studied physiotherapy at Boston University on a scholarship from the National Infant Paralysis Foundation.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, he worked at an understaffed hospital in Marmet, West Virginia and an infectious disease hospital in Boston.
However, the charm of the theater eventually led her to study theater at Boston University.
It was a shocking change, she told interviewers in 1988, saying she had changed from a calm world of science to a world where students routinely yell at teachers.
“I thought they were all nuts,” she said. “It was great.”
But her first graduate performance was disastrous as she sat silently on the stage.
She started working at the Stock Theater in the summer after her teacher helped treat stage phobia. She made her Off-Broadway debut in 1960 and played a small role in Broadway’s “Aspen Paper” two years later.
After spending three years at the Boston Provincial Theater, Dukakis moved to New York and married actor Luis Zorick.
In the first few years of marriage, there was little acting work, and Dukakis worked as a bartender, waitress, and others.
She and Zorich had three children, Christina, Peter, and Stephan. They decided it would be too difficult to raise a child in New York with a limited income, so they moved their family to a 100-year-old home in Montclair, a suburb of New Jersey, New York.
Her Oscar victory continued her mother’s film role. She is Kirstie Alley’s mother in “Look Who’s Talking” and its sequel “Look Who’s Talking Too,” an enthusiastic widow in “Steel Magnolias,” and Jack Lemon’s overwhelming wife (and Ted Danson) in “Dad.” Was my mother).
Her recent projects included the 2019 television mini-series “Tales of the City” and the upcoming movie “Not to Forgot.”
However, the stage was her first love.
“My ambition wasn’t to beat Oscar,” she commented after the “Moonstruck” victory. “It was a great role to play.”
She achieved that with New York works such as Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother’s Courage and Her Children”, Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day to the Night” and Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo”. ..
She ran the Whole Theater Company, which specializes in classical dramas, in Montclair, NJ for 20 years.
Zorich died in January 2018 at the age of 93.
While her passion was on the stage, the line from her Oscar-winning performance as Rose still seemed appropriate.
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