Actor Olympia Dukakis, a stage veteran that broke into Hollywood in the ’80s has passed away at her New York City home.
Dukakis, who was Greek-American won an Oscar in 1988 for her performance as Cher’s mother in Moonstruck, died at the age of 89 on Saturday morning (local time). Her brother, Apollo, confirmed her passing via a Facebook post on the same day, explaining that the actress had been battling serious health issues for a while but without clarifying the exact cause of death.
“My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City,” he wrote.
“After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her [husband] Louis [Zorich].”
Dukakis who yearned to be an actor from an early age was not given opportunities until later in life. Her road to stardom begun with author Nora Ephron’s recommendation to Meryl Streep’s mother in the film version of Ephron’s book Heartburn.
According to Associated Press, Dukakis got the role, but all her scenes were cut from the film, to make it up to her, director Mike Nichols cast her in his hit play Social Security.
It was her performance in Social Security that won her the role in Moonstruck.
Born to Greek parents in Lowell, Massachusetts, she was pushed towards a more practical and classic education, so she studied physical therapy at Boston University on a scholarship from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
Dukakis, who could not get over her love for theatre went on to study drama at Boston University. To her surprise, she suffered from severe stage fright. Getting over her anxiety, she later moved to New York where she met fellow actor Louis Zorich. Not long after they got married and had three children — Christina, Peter and Stefan.
Following her Oscar win, she was cast as Kirstie Alley’s mom in Look Who’s Talking and its sequel Look Who’s Talking Too; played the widow in Steel Magnolias; Dukakis was also known for her performance as the wife of Jack Lemmon, and mother of Ted Danson, in Dad.
She was last seen in the 2019 TV miniseries Tales of the City and her latest performance has been in the upcoming film Not to Forgot.