Vale: Eileen Brennan

Veteran actress Eileen Brennan, best known for Private Benjamin & The Last Picture Show, has died, aged 80.

2013-07-31_1155Veteran actress Eileen Brennan, best known for Private Benjamin & The Last Picture Show, has died, aged 80.

She died of bladder cancer Sunday at her home in California.

Predominantly a film actress, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in the 1980 comedy Private Benjamin before appearing in the spin-off television series winning an Emmy as Capt. Doreen Lewis.

Her other film credits include The Sting, and The Last Picture Show sequel, Texasville..

In 1982, Brennan had just finished dining with Goldie Hawn when she stepped into the path of an oncoming car. She suffered severe injuries to her legs and jaw, had an eyeball wrenched from its socket and broke multiple bones in her face. That led to an addiction to prescription pain pills, followed by a dependence on antidepressants and antianxiety medication.

She made her return with a role in the TV comedy Off the Rack in 1984. Other TV credits included Will & Grace, 7th Heaven, Strong Medicine, Lizzie McGuire, Touched by an Angel, Mad About You, Veronica’s Closet, Nash Bridges, ER, Walker, Murder She Wrote, All-New Dennis the Menace, Tales from the Crypt, Home Improvement, thirtysomething, Blossom, Newhart, Magnum PI, The Love Boat, Kojak, McMillan & Wife, All in the Family, and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Source: LA Times, Hollywood Reporter, IMDb

8 Responses

  1. This is sad news.

    I loved her in Private Benjamin but her performance in Will and Grace was one of the best guest star appearances ever in a tv show.

    Her scenes with Sean Hayes (Jack) were priceless.

  2. For an insight in the quality of talent of this fine actress, also take a look at the movie White Palace. Eileen was in a small role but made it so memorable (and the movie features one of Susan Sarandon’s greatest ever performances).

  3. For those who want to see another great performance by Ms Brennan – search out Neil Simon’s Murder By Death. Spoof on sleuth mysteries. Maggie Smith, David Niven, Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers, Peter Falk even Truman Capote stars. And the luminous Eileen Brennan.

  4. I’m very sad to read that. Her performance in Private Benjamin was one of my favourite supporting performances and certainly one of the great comedic screen villains! Her turn in Will and Grace was also fantastic. She was one brave and talented lady, staging a comeback after that shocking accident. One very funny lady!

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