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Olympia Dukakis, Star of ‘Moonstruck’ and ‘Steel Magnolias,’ Dies at 89

Oscar and Golden Globe winner appeared in over 60 films and 130 stage plays

Acclaimed film and stage actress Olympia Dukakis, who appeared in more than 60 movies and earned an Oscar in 1987 for her role in “Moonstruck,” has died at the age of 89, according to a Facebook post from her brother on Saturday.

“My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City,” Apollo Dukakis wrote. “After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis.”

Olympia Dukakis’ husband, actor Louis Zorich, passed away in 2018; the couple had been married since 1962.

Dukakis’ long career included appearances in a number of major films, including “Steel Magnolias” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” She’s perhaps best known for her performance as Rose Castorini in Norman Jewison’s “Moonstruck,” for which she won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1987.

Beyond the silver screen, Dukakis starred in more than 130 stage productions and 50 TV shows. She earned another Golden Globe nomination in 1992 for her role in “Sinatra,” a CBS miniseries based on the life of singer Frank Sinatra. Dukakis earned several Emmy nominations during her career as well, including for “More Tales of the City” in 1998 and “Joan of Arc” in 1999. Her prolific TV credits also includes appearances on “Law & Order,” “Bored to Death” and “The Simpsons,” among many other shows.

Olympia Dukakis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1931. Dukakis earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Boston University, and later returned to the university and received he Master of Fine Arts degree. At the beginning of her career in the late 1950s, her dream, according to the Los Angeles Times, was to create her own theater company and tour Europe.

“I did not become an actor in order to become famous or rich. I became an actor so I could play the great parts,” Dukakis said.

Dukakis’ autobiography, “Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress,” was released in July 2003. Seventeen years later, a feature-length documentary about her life called “Olympia” made the festival circuit.

Dukakis is survived by her three children, Peter, Christina and Stefan, and three grandchildren.