The famed actress Eileen Brennan has died at age 80. Brennan passed away on Sunday but her death was only announced today by her publicist, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s reported Brennan died after a battle with bladder cancer; she had already beaten breast cancer earlier in life.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. Most Fans Will Remember Her Role in Private Benjamin
Brennan is best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in the Goldie Hawn movie Private Benjamin. She reprised her role for the TV version of the movie, for which she won an Emmy.
2. She Made Movies With Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Jeff Bridges
She had a much celebrated movie career, appearing in movies like The Sting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, as well as a role in Jeff Bridges’ debut movie The Last Picture Show. For that role she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the BAFTA awards.
Brennan was also known for a singing role in Neil Simon’s The Cheap Detective (above).
3. She Appeared in Nearly Every Major TV Show of the Past 30 Years
— Bradley Traynor (@bradleytraynor) July 30, 2013
In her later year Brennan became a celebrated TV star, she made guess spots in Taxi, Murder She Wrote, Magnum P.I., Blossom and Will & Grace. Her most memorable TV guest spot saw her trapped in an elevator with Archie Bunker in an episode of All in the Family.
4. She Was a Close Friend of Goldie Hawn
— Broadway Buzz (@BroadwayBuzz) July 30, 2013
After her role in Private Benjamin Brennan and Goldie Hawn became friends. One night after eating dinner together in Los Angeles, Brennan was hit by a car and seriously injured. It took her nearly three years to recover and she made no TV or movie appearances during this time. Brennan has also said she battled pain killer addiction during her recovery and spent six weeks at the Betty Ford Center in 1984.
People Magazine reported at the time:
On a Venice, Calif. boulevard, darkened by a temporary power outage, Brennan stepped into the path of an oncoming car and was hurled into a ghastly abyss. She suffered a catalog of injuries—smashed legs, a fragmented jaw, a broken nose, an eyeball wrenched from its socket. All the bones on the left side of her face were broken.
5. Brennan is Survived by Her Two Sons
Very sad news: the great Oscar nominated actress Eileen Brennan dies at 80. Amazing actress. May she RIP. pic.twitter.com/VDgHd0IZ9a
— Angela Lansbury AS (@_AngelaLansbury) July 30, 2013
She is survived by her two sons Sam and Patrick (an actor who starred Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2), daughter-in-law Jessica, sister Kate and grandchildren Liam and Maggie. Brennan married only once to David Lampson a British photographer, the two were married in 1968 but were divorced in 1974.
Brennan was born Verla Eileen Regina Brennen in Los Angeles in 1932, her mother, Regina “Jeanne” Menehan, had been a famed silent movie actress. Her father John Gerald Brennan was a physician. She has said that she was raised as an Irish catholic.