Monday, May 3, 2021

The Late Great Olympia Dukakis

Olympia Dukakis who starred in such movies as Moonstruck (1987) and Steel Magnolias (1989), died at age 89.

Olympia Dukakis was born on June 20 1931 in Lowell, Massachusetts. She graduated from Boston University, where she majored in physical therapy. She would later return to Boston University to receive a Master's degree in performing arts. In 1958 she moved to New York City where she taught drama at New York University while pursuing her acting career. In 1962 she was an understudy for the role of Miss Bordereau in the play The Aspen Papers on Broadway. In 1964 she appeared on Broadway in Abraham Cochrane. She made her television debut in a guest appearance on The Nurses in 1962. That same year she guest starred on Dr. Kildare. She made her television debut in a bit part in the movie Twice a Man (1964). In the Sixties she also appeared in the movies Lilith (1964), Stiletto (1969), and John and Mary (1969).

In the Seventies Miss Dukakis appeared on Broadway in Who's Who in Hell. On television she guest starred on the shows Great Performances, The Andros Targets, The Doctors, and Breaking Away. She appeared in the movies Made for Each Other (1971), Sisters (1972), Death Wish (1974), The Wanderers (1979), Rich Kids (1979), and The Idolmaker (1980).

In the Eighties Olympia Dukakis had a recurring role on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. She guest starred on the television shows American Playhouse, One of the Boys, and The Equalizer.  She appeared on Broadway in  Social Security. Arguably, the Eighties were the height of Olympia Dukakis's movie career. She played Rose Castorini, the mother of Cher's character, in Moonstruck, for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Two years later she played Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias. During the decade she also appeared in the movies Movie Madness (1982), Wall of Glass (1985), Working Girl (1988), Look Who's Talking (1989), Dad (1990), In the Spirit (1990), and Look Who's Talking Too (1990).

In the Nineties Olympia Dukakis appeared in the mini-series Sinatra and Tales of the City. She guest starred on the shows The General Motors Playwrights Theatre, Touched by an Angel, and Joan of Arc. She also appeared in several TV movies. She appeared in the movies Over the Hill (1992), Look Who's Talking Now (1993), The Cemetery Club (1993), Digger (1993), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994),  I Love Trouble (1994), Dead Badge (1995), Jeffrey (1995), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Mr. Holland's Opus (1995), Never Too Late (1996), Jerusalem (1996), Milk & Money (1996), Picture Perfect (1997), Balkan Island: The Last Story of the Century (1997), Jane Austen's Mafia! (1998), Better Living (1998), and Brooklyn Sonnet (2000). She appeared on Broadway in Rose.

In the Naughts Olympia Dukakis had recurring roles in the television shows Center of the Universe and Bored to Death. She appeared in the mini-series Further Tales of the City. She guest starred on the shows The Wonderful World of Disney, The Simpsons, Frasier, It's All Relative, Numb3rs, and Worst Week. She appeared in the TV movies The Librarian: Quest for the Spear and The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines. She appeared in the films The Intended (2002), The Event (2003), Charlie's War (2003), The Thing About My Parents (2005), The Great New Wonderful (2005), 3 Needles (2005), Whiskey School (2005), Jesus, Mary and Joey (2005), Away from Her (2006), Day on Fire (2006), Upside Out (2006), and In the Land of Women (2007).

In the Teens Olympia Dukakis had a recurring role on the shows Sex & Violence, Forgive Me, Switch, and Tales of the City. She guest starred on the show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and F to 7th. She appeared in the movies Birds of a Feather (2011), Cloudburst (2011), Montana Amazon (2012), The Last Keepers (2013), A Little Game (2014), 7 Chinese Brothers (2015), Emily & Tim (2015), The Infiltrator (106), Broken Links (2016), and Change in the Air (2018). She is set to appear in the film Not to Forget later this year.

Olympia Dukakis was a wonderful actress and she played a number of great characters. She was Loretta's exacting mother in Moostruck. In Steel Magnolias she played strong willed widow Clairee. In Mr. Holland's Opus she was the tough Principal Helen Jacobs, who stresses to the title character the importance of teaching. Through the years Olympia Dukakis gave a number of great performances and played a number of great roles.

No comments: