Actress Olympia Dukakis, died at the age of 89. The veteran theater and film actress won an Oscar for the film “Moonstruck.” In that romantic comedy, she played the role of Cher’s mother. Dukakis received the Oscar for best supporting actress and Cher won the trophy for best actress.
Allison Levy, his agent, said Saturday that Dukakis died in the morning at his home in New York. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Dukakis had yearned to be an actress from an early age and hoped to study theater at university. Her parents, Greek immigrants, insisted that she study something more practical, so she attended physical therapy at Boston University on a grant from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, she worked at a understaffed hospital in Marmet, West Virginia, and at the Hospital for Communicable Diseases in Boston.
Olympia Dukakis suffered from stage fright when she was young
But the lure of the theater eventually led her to study drama at Boston University. However, her first performance in grad school was a disaster: she was left speechless, frozen on stage.
After a teacher helped her overcome her stage fright, she began working on summer sets. In 1960 she made her off-Broadway debut, and two years later she had a small role in “The Aspern Papers” on Broadway.
After three years at a Boston regional theater, Dukakis moved to New York and married actor Louis Zorich.
During their first years of marriage, acting jobs were rare and Dukakis worked as a waitress and waitress, among other trades.
She and Zorich had three children: Christina, Peter, and Stefan. They decided it was too difficult to raise children in New York on limited income, and they moved into a century-old home in Montclair, New Jersey, a suburb of New York.
Her victory at the Oscars led to more maternal roles in film. She was the mother of Kirstie Alley in “Look Who’s Talking” (“Look Who’s Talking”) and its sequel, “Look Who’s Talking Too” (“Look Who’s Talking Too”); the sardonic widow in “Steel Magnolias” and the overbearing wife of Jack Lemmon (and mother of Ted Danson) in “Dad” (“My old man”).
For two decades he ran the Whole Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey, which specialized in classic dramas.
With information from The Associated Press