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Olympia Dukakis, Oscar winner for ‘Moonstruck’, dies at 89

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Olympia Dukakis, a confident, raspberry-voiced actress who often played a world-weary and worldly intelligent character, and who won an Academy Award for her role as one such woman in “Moonstruck,” went to her home in Manhattan on Saturday But he died. . She was 89 years old.

His death was announced by his brother, actor Apollo Dukakis, stating that he was under the care of Dharamshala.

Ms. Dukakis was an East Coast stage veteran actress of 56 and three decades when she starred in John Patrick Shenley’s “Moonstruck” (1987), about a young Italian-American widow, Loretta Castrini (played by Cher) Has a romantic comedy, whose life is turned upside down when she falls in love with her fiancé’s brother (Nicholas Cage). Ms. Dukakis steals scene after scene as Rose, Loretta’s chieftain mother, who sees the world clearly and advises accordingly.

“Do you love her, Loretta?” She asks her daughter, referring to the dull fiancé. When Loretta says no, Rose replies: “Good. When you love them, they drive you crazy, because they know they can. “

The role won Ms. Dukakis the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (also won Cher) and hosted other awards in 1988 – the same year her cousin Michael Dukis won the Democratic presidential nomination. The award earned the film more roles.

She played the role of a Southern Southern widow in the mostly female cast of “Steel Magnolias” (1989); Christy Elle’s character’s mother in three “Look Who’s Talking” movies (1989–93); Pot-growing transgender landlord Ana Medrigal of San Francisco, in four television mini-series composed of Armstead Moupin’s “Tales of the City” stories from 1993 to 2019; And Frank Sinatra’s mother, Dolly, in the 1992 television film “Sinatra”.

He was away from his first mature roles. At the age of 40, she played the mother of 36-year-old Joseph Bologna in “Made in As Other” (1971), and at the age of 38, 32-year-old Dustin Hoffman’s mother in “John and Mary” (1969).

“I always played old,” he told the New York Times in 2004. “I think that was the voice.”

He staged in various eras, where his career began. And in a way, he gave all of this to Nora Efron.

Ms. Efron saw Ms. Dukes in Christopher Durang’s Off Broadway drama “Bette and Boo’s Wedding” and decided that she wanted to see Ms. Dukis in Ms. Nichols’s 1986 film “Heartburn” based on Ms. Efron’s Roman A. Cleef Were. Mr. Nichols then cast Ms. Dukakis in her next Broadway project, “Social Security”. Norman Jewison watched “Social Security” and in one film he told Ms. Dukakis about directing: “Moonstruck.”

Despite the awards and her other screen successes, Ms. Dukakis never left the theater work. In 2011 she starred in an off Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’s “The Milk Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore”. Charles Eicherwood, while reviewing his performance in The Times, called it “macabre, hilarious and weirdly touching” with “attention-seeking bravado”. The following year she played Prospero (Prospera, really) in “The Temprest” for Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts.

Olympia Dukakis was born on June 20, 1931 in Lowell, Mass. Constantine and Alexandra (Christo) Dukakis had two children, both of them Greek immigrants. Her father worked in a variety of settings, including a munitions factory, a printing business, and the quality control department of Lever Brothers. He also founded an amateur theater company.

Olympia graduated from Boston University with a degree in physical therapy and practiced the business, traveling to West Virginia, Minnesota and Texas during the worst days of the Central Virginia polio epidemic. Eventually she earned enough money to pursue theater studies at BU.

Before she received her MFA, she threw herself into her new career, making her first move to the 1956 summer stock production of “Outward Bound” in Maine. She moved to New York in 1959 and made her New York stage debut the following year at “The Breaking Wall” at St. Mark’s Playhouse.

His first screen appearance was in the 1962 television series “Dr. Kildare. His first film role was an unplanned as a mental patient in “Lilith” (1964). He received the Objet Award in 1963 for his role as Widow Begick in the play “A Man’s a Man” by Bertolt Brecht, owner of the canteen, and another, 22 years later, in Mr. Durang’s character, “The Marriage of Bette.” Found for the role of grandmother. And boo. “

On the way he married Louise Jorich, a fellow artist who had appeared with him in Willimown, Mass., In the making of “Medea”. Together they helped found the Whole Theater Company in Montclair, NJ in 1973, where they lived when they brought it home. Children. The company produced the likes of Chekhav, Coward and Williams for nearly two decades. Ms. Dukakis also taught acting at New York University.

Mr. Zorich died in 2018. In addition to his brother, he is survived by his three children, Christina, Peter and Stephen Zorich; And four grandchildren.

In recent years she played recurring characters in several television series, including “Bored to Death”, which had a traumatic relationship with her character Zac GalifianakisBelongs to To open her last film this year, “Not to Forget”, she plays the role of a judge, who is sentenced to a millennium for caring for her grandmother.

When The Toronto Sun asked him in 2003 if he was planning to retire, he replied: “From whom?” I love this chaotic, contradictory, loving filth that has been my life. “

He reflected his success in an interview with the London newspaper The Guardian in 2001. “Maybe good luck comes to you as bad.” “It’s all about making more sense: when you’re struggling, and when you call the world a success, you learn a lot of things. Or maybe something similar happens. Some days are cold, and some The day is hot. “



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