Verna Bloom, ‘Animal House’ and ‘Last Temptation of Christ’ Actress, Dies at 80

Bloom played Marion Wormer, cheating wife of the college dean in 1978 comedy

verna bloom
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Verna Bloom, a character actress best known for playing the cheating wife of Dean Wormer in “Animal House” and Mary, mother of Jesus in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” has died at age 80.

A family spokesperson told USA Today that Bloom died from complications from dementia.

Bloom made her film debut co-starring in Haskell Wexler’s acclaimed 1969 drama “Medium Cool,” for which she received a best actress and best supporting actress nomination from the National Society of Film Critics.

She appeared as Sarah Belding in Clint Eastwood’s 1973 Western “High Plains Drifter,” and later worked again with Eastwood in his 1982 film “Honkytonk Man.”

During this time, Bloom also struck a working relationship with Scorsese, appearing in three of his films: 1970’s “Street Scenes,” 1985’s “After Hours,” and in 1988, “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

But it was her appearance in “Animal House” that cemented her place in popular culture. Her character, Marion Wormer, has an affair with Delta Chi fraternity member Eric “Otter” Stratton (Tim Matheson) at the same time her husband, Dean Wormer, is trying to destroy the frat.

Bloom also had several television credits over her multidecade career, including “The Equalizer,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “Kojak,” “Bonanaza” and “The West Wing” in 2003 — her last screen credit, according to IMDb.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, screenwriter Jack Cocks, 74, and their son, Sam.