Shirley Knight, Star of ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ and ‘As Good As It Gets,’ Dies at 83

Two-time Oscar nominee also appeared in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Thirtysomething” and “NYPD Blue”

Last Updated: April 22, 2020 @ 11:38 AM

Actress Shirley Knight, star of “Sweet Bird of Youth,” and “As Good As It Gets” has died, her daughter actress Kaitlin Hopkins announced in a facebook post. She was 83.

Knight received two Oscar nominations for her work in her third and fourth films, “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and “Sweet Bird of Youth, and appeared in numerous movies such as “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” and television shows such as “Thirtysomething” and “NYPD Blue.”

A native from Kansas, Knight received a Tony Award in 1976 for her portrayal as an alcoholic actress in “Kennedy’s Children,” and received a second nomination again in 1997 in Horton Foote’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Young Man From Atlanta.” Knight won two Emmys in 1995 and a Golden Globe, the first Emmy was for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie in the the television movie “The McMartin Trial,” where she starred as Peggy Buckley, the real-life owner of a day-care center who’s tried for child molestation. Additionally, Knight also received the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Knight won her second Emmy for a guest performance on “NYPD Blue” episode “Large Mouth Bass.” In 1998, Knight picked up her third Emmy for playing Mel Harris’s mother on “Thirtysomething.” Throughout her acting career, Knight was nominated for the Emmy eight times, and has received a Golden Globe.

Knight received her first Best Supporting Actress Nomination in 1960 for “The Dark at The Top of The Stairs,” the adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Kasan William Inge which was directed on Broadway by Elia Kazan. Knight broke out in the role of Reenie, the conflicted daughter of salesman and his wife in 1920s Oklahoma played by Robert Preston and Dorothy McGuire. Knight received her second Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Sweet Bird of Youth,” the 1962 film based on a 1959 play by Tennessee Williams that was also directed on Broadway by Elia Kazan.

Knight is survived by her daughter Sophie Jacks, a screenwriter, and a stepdaughter, Justine.