Olympia Dukakis, the Oscar-winning actor whose hit movies included Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias, has passed away. She was 89 years old.
Dukakis’s brother, Apollo Dukakis, Announced the news on Facebook on Saturday, writing that “after many months of poor health” his “beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City.”
Dukakis won an Oscar for best supporting actor for Moonstruck, a 1987 film in which he played the mother of the main character played by Cher alongside Nicolas Cage. Other films included Look Who’s Talking and its sequel, Working Girl and Mr Holland’s Opus.
In an extensive television career, she appeared as Anna Madrigal, a transgender landlord from San Francisco, in several series based on Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.
“I always played older,” he told the New York Times in an interview in 2004. “I think it was the voice.”
Dukakis had an extensive career on the US stage and married another successful actor, Louis Zorich, in 1962. They had three children.
They appeared together once, in a production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf for the theater company they founded in Montclair, New Jersey in 1979. Upon Zorich’s death in 2018, 93 years, the Times cited a 1991 interview in which it said the couple got so involved in their role as a warring couple that they “almost got divorced.”
On Saturday, Apollo Dukakis wrote that his sister was “finally at peace and with her Louis.”
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1931, Olympia Dukakis was the cousin of Michael Dukakis, a former Massachusetts governor who lost the 1988 US presidential election to George HW Bush.
In 2012, she told The Guardian that she felt her Greek ancestry meant that “I was an outsider and that I never quite fit in, both in relation to Greek culture and mainstream American culture. Growing up, I was always a bit torn between those two worlds, not respecting either of them enough. But that’s okay.”
She delved further into her growing up experience in a 2001 interview, saying, “We fought the Armenians, we fought the Irish, we fought the French, they fought us. We were only eight or nine years old and we called ourselves greaseball, Mick, wop, etc. And of course we make fun of each other’s names. ”
Describing Zorich’s near death in a car accident in 1977, he said: “The people at the casting knew what had happened, and they would call me and give me two or three days in the movies. People were very nice because they knew we were [struggling]. I remember thinking, ‘It’s too difficult. I want to stop, I just want to stop. ‘
But acting turned out to be too attractive, as well as “the only thing I could earn a living on.”
“The process is infinitely interesting,” he said. “How you change as you work and get older. Somehow you get to know more about who you are and what you are and why you are. “
Success, he said, was also sometimes difficult to handle.
“I had a difficult time with that. People would say to me, ‘Oh, you’ve paid your debts.’ But so had a lot of people. And what about all those amazing plays that I participated in? Making an Oscar scandal felt like a betrayal.
“It finally occurred to me: maybe good luck comes to you for the same reason as bad. It’s about understanding more: you learn many things when you are struggling and other things when you are what the world calls success. Or maybe it’s just something that happens. Some days it’s cold and some days it’s hot. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism