Oscar-Nominated Actress Eileen Brennan Dead at 80

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The character actress was best known for her roles in 1971 drama, "The Last Picture Show," and 1980 comedy, "Private Benjamin"

Actress Eileen Brennan, best known for her supporting role as tough-talking drill captain Doreen Lewis in the Goldie Hawn comedy "Private Benjamin," died on Sunday. She was 80.

Brennan died in a Burbank hospice after a battle with bladder cancer, her management company, Unified Management, told TheWrap.

Also well known for 1971's "The Last Picture Show," Brennan's performance in "Private Benjamin" earned her an Oscar nomination in 1981, and she continued to portray her Army captain character for three seasons on CBS' television adaptation of the comedy. That role earned her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Other memorable roles in her long filmography stretching through five decades include 1974 Best Picture Oscar winner, "The Sting"; 1976 crime comedy "Murder by Death," and 1985 caper comedy, "Clue," in which she starred as Mrs. Peacock.

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Brennan was born in 1932 in Los Angeles. Her mother, Regina Manahan, was a silent film actress, and her father, John Gerald Brennan, a doctor. After studying at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and then the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, she landed the title role in the off-Broadway production "Little Mary Sunshine" in 1959.

Her performance earned her an Obie Award and a "Promising New Personality" Theatre World Award alongside eight other thespians, including Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda and Carol Burnett.

After two years of playing Irene Malloy alongside Carol Channing's Dolly Levi Gallagher in the original 1964 Broadway production of "Hello, Dolly," she came to Hollywood to join Dustin Hoffman in the TV movie, "The Star Wagon," followed by a supporting role in 1967 comedy "Divorce American Style," which starred Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke.

That led to her major dramatic turn as worn-out Texas waitress Genevieve in Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show." 

Later in life, Brennan was a reccuring guest star on WB family drama, "7th Heaven," as well as the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace." 

She is survived by sons Sam and Patrick — an actor who appeared in "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2" — daughter-in-law Jessica, sister Kate and grandchildren Liam and Maggie.