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Oscar-winning Moonstruck actress Olympia Dukakis has died at the age of 89

Olympia Dukakis, who won an Oscar for her performance as a sardonic middle-aged mother who advised her wayward daughter on love issues in the 1987 romantic film comedy “Moonstruck,” died Saturday at the age of 89.

Dukakis, a cousin of the failed 1

988 Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, died at his home in New York on Saturday morning after months of deteriorating health, according to her agent Alison Levy. Her daughter Kristina Zoric was next to her.

Dukakis, a Massachusetts-born daughter of Greek immigrants, worked for decades as a stage, television and film actor before enjoying fame at the age of 56, playing Cher’s character’s mother in “Moonstruck.”

Dukakis builds on this with roles in films, including “Look Who’s Talking” (1989) and its sequels with John Travolta and Kirsty Alley, “Steel Magnolias” (1989) with Shirley McLain, Sally Field and Julia Roberts, directed by Woody Allen “The Mighty Aphrodite “” (1995) and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995) with Richard Dreyfus.

Dukakis, a master of dead humor, was also nominated for Emmy Awards for television roles in 1991, 1998 and 1999.

In the 1970s, she co-founded the Whole Theater in the New York suburb of Moncler, New Jersey, after moving there with her husband, fellow actor Louis Zorich.

But for many, her most indelible performance was in director Norman Joyson’s Moonstruck as Rose Kastorini, a Brooklyn woman with a cheating plumber (Vincent Gardenia) and a widowed accountant’s daughter, Loretta (Cher), who has a relationship with her brother. the fiancé of the opera (Nicola Cage).

Her teasing with Cher was among the film’s highlights, including a scene in which Dukakis scolded his daughter during a kitchen dissection of her love life.

“Your life is going down the toilet,” Dukakis said in a throaty voice.

At another point, she tells Cher that it’s good that she didn’t love her fiancé. “When you love them, they drive you crazy because they know they can.”

“Olympia Dukakis was an amazing, award-winning actress,” actress and singer Cher wrote on Twitter. “… I talked to her 3 hours ago. Rip, honey.”

Another Oscar winner, Viola Davis, called Dukakis the “perfect actress” on Twitter. “You’ve made everyone around you step up their game. Joy at work. Rest well.”

Actress Olympia Dukakis waves at the opening ceremony of her star on the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, May 24, 2013. REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni

“Moonstruck,” considered one of Hollywood’s great romantic comedies, won three Oscars, including Cher for Best Actress, and was nominated in three other categories, including Best Picture. It was also one of the highest grossing films of 1987.

Accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in April 1988, when her cousin struggled to become a Democratic presidential candidate, she thanked Juiceon, her husband and several others.

Then she raised the golden statuette over her head and shouted to the world’s television audience, “All right, Michael, let’s go.”

Michael Dukakis won the nomination, but the governor of Massachusetts lost badly in the general election to Republican Vice President George HW Bush.

Like her cousin, Olympia Dukakis adopts liberal views, advocating for causes including women’s rights, gay rights and the environment.

“She had an amazing life and we were very proud of her,” Michael Dukakis told the Boston Globe on Saturday.

Olympia Dukakis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1931, and continued to serve until her 1980s.

Referring to becoming a movie star at an age when many actresses have a hard time finding good roles, Dukakis told the Guardian in 2012. “Who knows how this happened? Chance, fate or a little of the two. But I’m very I’m glad I did Moonstruck. That meant I woke up the next day and finally managed to pay the bills. “

Dukakis said he enjoyed his fame after “Moonstruck”.

“The funny part is that people walk past me on the street and shout lines from my movies,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1991. They told Moonstruck, “Your life goes to the bathroom.”

Her television appearances include the role of a transgender housewife in the 1993 miniseries “Tales of the City of Armisteed Mopin” and the subsequent action of 1998 and 2001. Dukakis reiterated her role in reviving the miniseries for Netflix in 2019.

Other films include “Cloud Blast” (2011), playing a fake lesbian, “Far from Her” (2006) with Julie Christie, “The Event” (2003), “A Better Life” (1998) with Roy Scheider, “Never Too Late “(1996) with Cloris Leachman and” Father “(1989) with Jack Lehmann and Ted Danson.

Dukakis married Luis Zorich in 1962, with whom he has two sons and a daughter, and died in 2018. He also has four grandchildren.

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