NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis died Saturday morning at her home in New York City.
Dukakis was best known for her roles in “Steel Magnolias” and “Moonstruck.”READ MORE: New Jersey Under State Of Emergency As Nor'easter Threatens Flood Prone Areas
She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Cher’s mother in “Moonstruck.” Over the course of her career, she also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA nomination.
She also made a name for herself on Broadway.
In 1960, she made her off-Broadway debut and two years later had a small part in “The Aspen Papers” on Broadway.
After three years with a Boston regional theater, Dukakis moved to New York and married actor Louis Zorich.
During their first years of marriage, acting jobs were scarce, and Dukakis worked as a bartender, waitress and other jobs.
She and Zorich had three children — Christina, Peter and Stefan. They decided it was too hard to raise children in New York with limited income, so they moved the family to a century-old house in Montclair, a New Jersey suburb of New York.
Her Oscar victory kept the motherly film roles coming. She was Kirstie Alley’s mom in “Look Who’s Talking” and its sequel “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.”
Her recent projects included the 2019 TV miniseries “Tales of the City” and the upcoming film “Not to Forgot.”READ MORE: MTA Says It's Prepared To Deal With Subway Flooding, Commuters Encouraged To Use Mass Transit
But the stage was her first love.
“My ambition wasn’t to win the Oscar,” she commented after her “Moonstruck” win. “It was to play the great parts.”
She accomplished that in such New York productions 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 she ran the Whole Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey, specializing in classic dramas.
Zorich died in January 2018 at age 93.
A beloved member of the Hollywood community, Dukakis was also a philantrhopist who earned her spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.
Dukakis’ brother Apollo confirmed her passing on Facebook, writing, “My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City. After many months of failing health, she is finally at peace and with her Louis.”
Close friend and actor George Takei posted on Twitter, “Olympia Dukakis has departed our company. We were Moonstruck by her, as she told us great Tales of the City. A true Steel Magnolia within a more common forest. Ah, what a life force, her later years her best. Rest now among the heavens, Olympia.”
Olympia Dukakis has departed our company. We were Moonstruck by her, as she told us great Tales of the City. A true Steel Magnolia within a more common forest. Ah, what a life force, her later years her best. Rest now among the heavens, Olympia.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 1, 2021
The owners of John’s Grill in Midtown told CBS2 she was a close friend of the Konstin family and a regular at the restaurant.
The cause of her death has not yet been released. Dukakis was 89 years old.MORE NEWS: Long Island Preparing For Potential Flooding, Power Outages As Rain And Wind Pick Up
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)