USA TODAY US Edition
Oscar-winning actress Dukakis dies at 89
Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, known for her roles in such movies as “Steel Magnolias” and “Moonstruck,” has died. She was 89.
Allison Levy, her agent at Innovative Artists, confirmed to The Associated Press that Dukakis died Saturday morning in her home in New York City. A cause of death was not immediately released.
Dukakis got her start on the stage in Broadway productions including “The Aspern Papers,” “Who’s Who in Hell” and the one-woman show “Rose.”
Her roles on the silver screen, often depicting matriarchal characters, are what earned her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. In the 1987 rom-com “Moonstruck,” Dukakis played Rose Castorini, mother of a widowed bookkeeper in Brooklyn, Loretta Castorini (Cher). She landed an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best supporting actress.
She referred to her 1988 win as “the year of the Dukakii” because it was also the year Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, her cousin, was the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. At the ceremony, she held her Oscar high and called out: “OK, Michael, let’s go!”
“My ambition wasn’t to win the Oscar,” she said after her “Moonstruck” win. “It was to play the great parts.”
She also was known for her role as Clairee Belcher in Herbert Ross’ 1989 “Steel Magnolias” and starred in films such as “Look Who’s Talking” and “Working Girl.”
Dukakis also had a long list of TV credits, including playing Anna Madrigal on the Emmynominated series “Tales of the City” (1993) and its sequels, based on the novels by Armistead Maupin.
Members of the Hollywood community took to Twitter on Saturday to remember Dukakis’ life and legacy.
Fellow Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis wrote: “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.’”
Cher shared a tribute. “Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck,& Even Though Her Part was That Of a Suffering Wife, We (laughing emoji) ALL The Time. She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis, Her ‘Handsome Talented, Husband,’ “she tweeted. “I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One.”
Actor George Takei wrote: “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.”
“Some movies you watch because of an actor in it,” comedian Christopher Titus wrote. “Olympia Dukakis was one of those actors, RIP.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted a tribute: “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.”