Emmy-Winning, Oscar-Nominated Actress Dead at 80

Jul 30, 2013  •  Post A Comment

A well-known actress with a long track record in television and film, who received seven Emmy nominations and took home a trophy in 1981, has died. CNN reports that Eileen Brennan, known for her role in the 1980 feature film "Private Benjamin" and for her many TV roles, died Sunday at 80.

Brennan reportedly died at her home in Burbank, Calif., after a battle with bladder cancer.

Brennan received an Oscar nomination for her performance as Goldie Hawn’s exasperated drill captain in "Private Benjamin," the report notes. She reprised the role in a TV series adaptation of the movie from 1981-83, racking up more honors: an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in 1981 and two additional Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe in 1982 and others.

She also received Emmy nominations for her work on "Taxi," "Newhart," "thirtysomething" and "Will & Grace."

In a statement, her family said: "Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and respect for Eileen. She was funny and caring and truly one of a kind. Her strength and love will never be forgotten. She will be greatly missed by all of us."

"Brennan was known for character roles as sassy, brassy women, the kind with a sandpaper surface but a light, pure heart," the CNN report notes. "She played a waitress in ‘The Last Picture Show’ (1971), the wife of Paul Newman’s conman in ‘The Sting’ (1973), a wisecracking maid in ‘At Long Last Love’ (1975) and Mrs. Peacock in ‘Clue’ (1985)."

The report adds: "Verla Eileen Regina Brennan was born in Los Angeles in 1932, the daughter of a doctor and a silent-film actress. After several small stage roles, she finally earned notice for her 1959 off-Broadway turn as ‘Little Mary Sunshine,’ for which she won an Obie. Five years later, she gained fame for her performance as Irene Molloy, one of the woman who falls victim to Dolly Levi’s matchmaking skills, in the 1960s hit musical ‘Hello, Dolly!’"


Eileen Brennan

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