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Oscar-winning ‘Moonstruck’ actress Olympia Dukakis dies at 89

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Olympia Dukakis (Photo: AFP)
NEW YORK — Olympia Dukakis, who won an Oscar for her performance as a sardonic, middle-aged mother who advises her headstrong daughter on matters of love in the 1987 romantic film comedy “Moonstruck,” died on Saturday at age 89.اضافة اعلان

Dukakis — a cousin of unsuccessful 1988 Democratic US presidential nominee Michael Dukakis — passed away at her New York City home on Saturday morning after months of failing health, according to her agent, Allison Levy. Her daughter, Christina Zorich, was by her side.

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

Dukakis built on that with roles in films including “Look Who’s Talking” (1989) and its sequels with John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, “Steel Magnolias” (1989) with Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field and Julia Roberts, director Woody Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite” (1995) and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995) with Richard Dreyfuss.

Dukakis, a master of deadpan humor, also was nominated for Emmy awards for TV roles in 1991, 1998 and 1999.

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

But, for many, her most indelible performance came in director Norman Jewison’s “Moonstruck” as Rose Castorini, a Brooklyn woman with a cheating plumber husband (Vincent Gardenia) and a widowed bookkeeper daughter, Loretta (Cher), who has an affair with her fiance’s opera-buff brother (Nicolas Cage).


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