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Sondra Locke Remembered as ‘Early Pioneer’ for Women in Hollywood

”Sondra Locke, like Barbara Lowden, deserves to be known for her work, not for the famous man she was disastrously involved with,“ author Sarah Weinman tweets

Sondra Locke, the Oscar-nominated actress for the 1968 film “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” who was reported dead on Thursday at age 74, is being remembered by Hollywood as someone who stood up for female rights in the industry against powerful men.

In 1996, Locke settled a legal suit with her ex-husband and frequent co-star Clint Eastwood after she contended that the actor and director sabotaged her career and duped her by dangling the promise of a directing deal at Warner Bros. At the time, the Los Angeles Times quoted her as saying that her suit was never about the money.

“It was about my fighting for my professional rights,” Locke said at the time. “People cannot get away with whatever they want to, just because they’re powerful.”

A comment by her lawyer Peggy Garrity similarly should stir resonance in this age of the #MeToo movement: “It was about power and the arrogance of power,” Garrity said. “I see her as sort of an Everywoman for the ’90s.”

In their tributes to Locke on Friday morning, people are reacting by expressing that Locke’s legacy should not be remembered through the lens of the man to whom she was married but by the strengths of her own performances and, however short-lived, directorial accomplishments.

“Sondra Locke, like Barbara Lowden, deserves to be known for her work, not for the famous man she was disastrously involved with,” author Sarah Weinman tweeted.

Further, several individuals in the media criticized The Hollywood Reporter’s headline on its obituary for Locke that referred to her as Eastwood’s “embittered” ex-wife. It has since changed the headline.

“Was it Sondra Locke who all but forbade Clint Eastwood to work with anyone else during his prime career years, then had him quietly blackballed? Which one can be reasonably called bitter, Hollywood Reporter,” critic Farran Nehme said in a tweet. “This is the most sexist headline I’ve seen in some time.”

See some of the other reactions to Locke’s passing from industry professionals below: