Olympia Dukakis, the seasoned actress with over 200 roles to her credit in stage, film and television production, has passed away. The beloved performer, perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning role in Moonstruck (1987), died Saturday morning according to a Facebook post from her brother, Apollo Dukakis. No cause of death was given, but Apollo notes that Olympia had been suffering for months. She was 89 years old.
“My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, died in New York City this morning, “Apollo wrote, including a picture of Olympia.” After many months of poor health, she is finally at peace with her Louis. ‘
Apollo refers to Louis Zorich, Olympia’s late husband, who passed away years ago; the couple had been married since 1962 and had three children together. Zorich was also an actor famous for playing Burt Buchman, the father of Paul Reiser Paul Buchman, in the 1990s sitcom. Crazy about you. He has also performed in numerous projects with Dukakis, with regular collaborations over the years. Sadly, Zorich passed away in 2018 at the age of 93.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1931, Dukakis studied physical therapy and later earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Boston University. In the mid-1960s, she had shifted her focus to show business and brought her acting talents to the stage. In 1963 she earned an Obie Award for Best Actress for her Off-Broadway performance in Man is equal to man, one of more than 130 stage productions she has worked on.
After finding success on stage, Dukakis began taking roles in a variety of films in the 60s and 70s, including Brian De Palma’s. Sisters next to Margot Kidder; Charles Bronson’s action movie Death wish; and the classic comedy National Lampoon goes to the movies. During this time, the actress would also appear on television and take on roles in classic shows such as Breaking out, One of the boys, and American playhouse.
Perhaps Olivia’s greatest role was that of Rose Castorini Moonstruck, the critically acclaimed romantic comedy that also starred Cher and Nicolas Cage. Her performance earned Dukakis high praise, resulting in a major win for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, along with a Golden Globe Award. The film also received Cher’s best original screenplay and best actress.
Other films in Dukakis’s oeuvre include roles in such films as Steel Magnolias, The Naked Gun 33 ⅓: The Final Insult, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and the Look who’s talking movies. Her television work includes such titles as The equalizer, The Simpsons, Frasier, and Sex and Violence. She earned Emmy nominations for her roles in Joan of Arc, Sinatra, More Tales of the City, and the TV movie Lucky Day. Dukakis was also the subject of Harry Mavromichalis’ acclaimed documentary Olympia, which documented her life and career. The film was released last year.
The actress, activist and philanthropist was also honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013. It’s just a small way to keep Dukakis’ legacy alive forever, even when the beloved actress is no longer with us. Our thoughts turn to family during this difficult time. May she rest in peace. This news comes from Apollo Dukakis.