Barbara Harris, Star of ‘Nashville,’ ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘Grosse Pointe Blank,’ Dies at 83

Oscar-nominated actress won a Tony for the 1967 musical “The Apple Tree” opposite Alan Alda

barbara harris
Paramount Pictures

Barbara Harris, an Oscar-nominated actress who made memorable turns in such classics as “Nashville,” the original “Freaky Friday” and “Grosse Pointe Blank,” died Tuesday of lung cancer at age 83, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Harris, who sang the opening number in the very first show at Chicago’s famed Second City in 1959, had a long and successful career in both theater and the movies.

She won a Tony Award in 1967 for her lead performance in the musical “The Apple Tree” opposite a young Alan Alda, and an Oscar nomination playing a vulnerable aspiring actress in the 1971 comedic drama “Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?”

She made memorable impressions in a series of small roles, from a singer calming an agitated crowd in Robert Altman’s 1975 classic “Nashville” to the dementia-afflicted mother of John Cusack’s hitman in the 1997 cult hit “Grosse Pointe Blank.”

Harris earned a Golden Globe nomination for her debut film, the 1965 musical “A Thousand Clowns,” and a pair of nominations in 1977 for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Family Plot” and the Disney movie “Freaky Friday” — as the mother who swaps bodies with her daughter, played by a young Jodie Foster.

Other big-screen credits include 1980’s “The Seduction of Joe Tynan” and Francis Ford Coppola’s 1996 movie “Peggy Sue Got Married” and 1988’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”