Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, who has died at age 89, was being remembered by her Hollywood friends, co-stars and admirers as an accomplished actor with a spirited nature.
Dukakis died Saturday in New York City after months of failing health, her agent said.
“Olympia Dukakis brought warmth, humor and wit to the stage and screen for almost 60 years, including a stellar run of unforgettable roles in `Steel Magnolias’ `Tales of the City’ and `Moonstruck,’ for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She will be missed,” the Academy of Motion Pictures tweeted Saturday.
“Olympia Dukakis Was an Amazing, Academy Award Winning Actress,” tweeted Cher, who played Dukakis’ daughter in 1987’s “Moonstruck,” which won the older actress an Oscar for best supporting actress. “Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck, & Even Though Her Part was That Of a Suffering Wife, We (laughed) ALL The Time. … I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One.”
Cher, who won a Best Actress Oscar for her work in “Moonstruck,” also tweeted that she “Heard Olympia Was Sick So Called Her Daughter & Said Could I Talk 2 Her. She Said `She might Not HEAR or SPEAK’. I Called In2 The Receiver `Olympia It’s Cher, I (love) You’. Remember `Moonstruck.’ She Said `oh Cher, I (love) you.’ She Was Weak But Happy. RIP O.”
“It’s sort of a shock that she’s gone,” actress Renee Taylor told City News Service. She said Dukakis had recently worked in summer stock. The two worked together in the 1971 movie “Made for Each Other,” which Taylor co-wrote with her late husband Joseph Bologna.
“She was a wonderful actress and a wonderful person,” Taylor said.
Actress Viola Davis tweeted, “RIP Olympia Dukakis … the consummate actor. You made all around you step up their game. A joy to work with. Rest well. `May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”’
“Brilliant, strong, hilarious soul. An actor’s actor. Rest In Peace Olympia Dukakis,” actor Bradley Whitford tweeted.
“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,” tweeted actor George Takei.
“RIP to my old Montclair neighbor, beautiful artist and co-founder of the Whole Theater company, Olympia Dukakis,” actor Alex Winter tweeted.
“Oympia Dukakis was a great actress who loved the work and loved the theatre. She was the acting teacher who spoke to me (and many, many others) with clarity and humor and NO censor,” actor Michael McKean tweeted.
Dukakis also had a notable stage career, dating back to her debut in 1964, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013 for her work in the live theater.
Aside from “Moonstruck,” her other popular movies included “Working Girl,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Look Who’s Talking,” “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Look Who’s Talking Now.”
On television, Dukakis appeared in more than 40 series and miniseries, including “Tales of the City” and its sequels “More Tales of the City” and “Further Tales of the City”; “Sinatra”; “Last of the Blonde Bombshells”; “Joan of Arc”; and “Bored to Death.”
Dukakis was born June 20, 1931, in Lowell, Mass., the daughter of Greek immigrants. She was also the cousin of Michael S. Dukakis, the former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee.
Her husband, actor Louis Zorich, died in 2018. She is survived by her brother, Apollo; daughter, Cristina; sons Peter and Stefan; and four grandchildren.