Actress Louisa Moritz, who was known for her role as the hooker Rose in the Oscar-winning film classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and was one of the first women to accuse Bill Cosby of rape, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 72, her publicist announced Wednesday.
Spokesman Edward Lozzi said Moritz died of natural causes last week at her home. He said memorial service arrangements are pending.
“Louisa Moritz was so full of life, talent, and she was a genius with a sixth sense for making money,” Lozzi said. “Her parties in Mt. Olympus in the 1980s were wild and most popular with actors, producers, models, makeup artists, set directors, stuntmen — all of the categories. Her support of the Motion Picture Home and animal rights groups was heavy. Her hundreds of TV and film roles will keep her memory alive with her fans forever. Her support of other women who accused Bill Cosby of rape will keep her with us for years to come.”
Joseph Cammarata, an attorney retained by Moritz to represent her in a defamation lawsuit against Cosby, called her “a brave woman who stood up against a powerful Hollywood icon … in an effort to restore her good name and reputation, after he publicly branded her a liar when she made public her allegations of sexual abuse and assault by Mr. Cosby.”
“Ms. Moritz was one of seven women who sued Bill Cosby for defamation,” the attorney said in a statement released by Lozzi. “Despite her death, her claim against Mr. Cosby will continue in a federal court in Massachusetts. We (look) forward to a resolution of the case that will establish that Louisa was a `truth teller,’ so that her legacy will live forever untarnished.”
Moritz was born Louisa Castro on Sept. 25, 1946, in Havana, Cuba, and moved in the 1950s to New York City, where she was inspired to change her last name to Moritz after seeing the St. Moritz Hotel. She would later buy a hotel in Beverly Hills that she renamed the Beverly Hills St. Moritz, Lozzi said.
Moritz started her acting career in TV commercials in the late 1960s, making her debut in a spot for Ultra-Ban spray deodorant. She went on to appear in more than 100 national TV commercials.
She made her film debut in the lead role of young prostitute Carmela in “The Man from O.R.G.Y.” in 1970.
Her other film credits include playing an airhead navigator opposite Sylvester Stallone in the science fiction black comedy “Death Race 2000” (1975); a cheery prostitute in “Sixpack Annie” (1975); Officer Gloria Whitey in “Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke” (1978); the aggressively lascivious Carmela in “The Last American Virgin” (1982); and a ditsy kleptomaniac in “Chained Heat” (1983).
On the small screen, she appeared on such shows as “Love, American Style,” “Ironside,” “Happy Days,” “M*A*S*H,” “Chico and the Man,” “The Rockford Files” and “The Incredible Hulk.”
She also produced TV self-help shows in self-defense and was writing two books at the time of her death, one about Cuban cooking and the other about how to get out of traffic tickets, according to Lozzi.
“Louisa was very impulsive with a blond bombshell sexy look which veiled her genius,” he said. “She was sued once and it was costly, so she went to law school and became a lawyer to save money and buy real estate.”
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