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

Olympia Dukakis, Hollywood’s favourite late bloomer who received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Moonstruck” — has died at the age of 89.

Dukakis, a cousin of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, died Saturday at her dwelling in New York City. Her brother, Apollo Dukakis, wrote on Facebook, “After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her [husband] Louis.”

In addition to her scene-stealing flip as Cher’s sardonic Brooklyn mother in 1987’s “Moonstruck,” Dukakis was recognized for her roles in “Steel Magnolias,” “Look Who’s Talking” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” amongst many different movies.

Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis was additionally recognized for her position in “Steel Magnolias.”
Everett Collection

Of course she wasn’t actually a late bloomer at all, having labored as highly-respected actress and director within the theater, each Broadway, off-Broadway and on regional phases, for a long time earlier than she received her Oscar. She made her Broadway debut at age 30 as an understudy in “The Aspern Papers.”

She received Obie awards for Bertolt Brecht’s “A Man’s a Man” and Christopher Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo and was additionally nominated for three Emmys within the 1990s.

Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine
Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine in “Steel Magnolias.”
© TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection

Most not too long ago, she was within the solid of the Netflix miniseries “Tales of the City,” taking part in the position of Anna Madrigal, who she additionally portrayed in earlier diversifications of Armistead Maupin’s works.

Dukakis was born June 20, 1931, in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of a Greek immigrants. Her father was from Anatolia and her mom from the Peloponnese. Her dad began up his personal drama membership in Lowell to stage traditional Greek performs.

Actresses Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis on a promotional shoot for the film 'Steel Magnolias' at Berkeley Square on February 1990 in London, England.
Actresses Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis on a promotional shoot for the movie “Steel Magnolias” in February 1990.
Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

But regardless of her theatrical pedigree, the always-athletic Dukakis majored in bodily remedy at Boston University and labored as a bodily therapist throughout the polio epidemic. She was additionally a New England fencing champion.

She finally returned to BU to get her grasp of nice arts diploma within the performing arts and headed to the theater.

Olympia Dukakis attends the "Tales of the City" New York premiere at The Metrograph on June 03, 2019
Olympia Dukakis attends the “Tales of the City” New York premiere on June 3, 2019.
Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

Dukakis married actor Louis Zorich in 1962. The two had been a New York-based theatrical energy couple who created and ran the Whole Theatre Company in Montclair, N.J. for practically twenty years, from 1971 to 1990.

Her many stage directing credit included “Orpheus Descending,” “Uncle Vanya” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Dukakis was additionally recognized for her work on behalf of ladies’s rights and the surroundings.

Olympia Dukakis, Nicolas Cage, Cher, and Danny Aiello on the set of Moonstruck
Olympia Dukakis, Nicolas Cage, Cher and Danny Aiello on the set of “Moonstruck.”
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis by way of Getty Images

But she’s going to at all times be remembered for “Moonstruck,” the movie directed by Norman Jewison, which she by no means thought could be an enormous success.

She as soon as instructed A.V. Club that she lastly realized the film would possibly hit when she went with Jewison to a profit in Canada for a screening of the movie.

“And he said, ‘You know, you’re gonna get an Academy Award for this.’ I looked at him like he was stark-raving mad. I thought, ‘This little movie and that little Italian lady are gonna get an award?’ I said, ‘You really think so?’ He said, ‘Yeah!’ I thought, ‘He’s just being nice because I came up here to do the benefit for him. He thinks he has to say something nice to me.’ And then all that happened. It was just amazing.”

Olympia Dukakis and Daryl Hannah and Musician Dolly Parton attend the "Steel Magnolias" Century City Premiere on November 9, 1989
Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton attend the “Steel Magnolias” Century City premiere on Jov. 9, 1989.
Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection by way of Getty Images

Dukakis typically spoke about individuals on the street shouting traces from a few of her most well-known films, particularly “Moonstruck.”

“Olympia Dukakis’ delivery of “Old man, you give those dogs another piece of my food and I’m gonna kick you till you’re dead” to her father-in-law in Moonstruck lives in my head rent-free,” learn one in all many tweets about Dukakis following her loss of life.

Dukakis is survived by her three kids.

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