Lynn Cohen, the beloved star of “The Hunger Games,” “Sex and the City” and “Law & Order,” has died at the age of 86.
Known to many for her roles as Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” and as Magda in “Sex and the City,” Cohen was a celebrated star on Broadway for many years.
In terms of voice acting, Cohen is perhaps best known for her role in the hit video game, “Red Dead Redemption.”
Cohen was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1933. Cohen told New York Jewish Week that she was one of three Jewish children in her elementary school. From there, Cohen said that she began acting at the age of 15 and studied at Northwestern University.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cohen Has Been Referred to as ‘a Quintessential New York Character Actor’
According to Playbill, Cohen made her debut on Broadway in 1989 in Tennessee Williams’ “Orpheus Descending.” Cohen returned to Broadway for the role of Avdotya Nazarovna in Anton Chekov’s “Ivanov” in November 1997. More recently, Cohen appeared in the all-female version of “12 Angry Men” off-Broadway in 2018.
In 2009, Playbill referred to Cohen as “a quintessential New York character actor.” Cohen did not move to New York City until the mid-1970s after her son went to college. Cohen told Playbill that she was doing a play in Kansas City and was offered a role in New York City and decided to take it. Cohen’s son later became a bankruptcy lawyer.
2. Cohen Worked With Woody Allen Amid the Scandal Involving His Affair With Mia Farrow’s Daughter
In 1993, Cohen appeared in the Woody Allen movie, “Manhattan Murder Mystery.” The film was shot amid the scandal involving Allen’s affair with Mia Farrow’s daughter, Soon Yi Previn. At the time of the affair, Allen and Farrow had been in a long term relationship. Cohen described working with Allen in her Playbill interview by saying that she only got her lines prior to shooting. It wasn’t until she turned up on set that she realized her character gets murdered.
Cohen said, “When I auditioned, the leading lady was Mia Farrow. When I got to the set, it was Diane Keaton. That was when that thing happened. Paparazzi were everywhere.” Cohen went on to say that the part had originally been written for Joan Plowright. Cohen would later appear in Allen’s 1997 movie, “Deconstructing Harry.”
3. Cohen Called Her Experience on ‘Sex and the City’ a ‘Very Special, Unique Experience’
Cohen said in a November 2016 interview with the Miami Herald of her appearances in “Sex and the City,”
“Oh, so fun. You’d be shocked how many people still come up to me — a 90-year-old women — and say, ‘I never mentioned the word “sex” in my life before that show.’ It opened up a whole new world. It was about these individuals struggling to find themselves. The show itself was a very special, unique experience, shot more like a film than a television program. In any case, I loved it. And my doorman in New York City is still obsessed with Sarah Jessica Parker. He always asks me about her!”
“Sex and the City” was in its third season when Cohen appeared in the role of Magda, Miranda, Cynthia Nixon’s, housekeeper. In one memorable episode, Cohen, as Magda, replaced Miranda’s vibrator with a statuette of the Virgin Mary.
Cohen told Playbill that she was once in a glass factory in Venice when someone came up to her and said, “Oh Magda, you’re here!” Cohen also said, “You spend a life doing Chekhov and Shakespeare — and the world knows you as Magda!”
Cohen would later tell Cosmopolitan of her disappointment that Magda never had a love interest saying, “They did an episode that was never shown in which I had a promising boyfriend. They got me a fancy black dress, they got me to go to a bar with him, but it turned out the [actor] was not using any of the lines in the scene, just taking it in a totally different direction. They decided that would not work and of course it wouldn’t have. I was waiting! Where was my boyfriend?”
Cohen played a similarly named character in her other most famous work, “The Hunger Games” sequel, “Catching Fire.” Cohen’s character was Mags, a game contestant who lost her voice.
4. Cohen Married Her Husband, Ron Cohen, in 1965
In 2015, Cohen appeared in the independent movie, “The Pickle Recipe,” alongside her husband, Ron Cohen. Cohen said of her husband in a 2015 interview with The Detroit Free Press, “I’m married to a perfect man who’s also a great artist, writer, actor, and he wants me to work. He wants to get me out of the house! I’m a member of a very lucky club.” Cohen and her husband married in 1965.
Cohen told New York Jewish Week that her husband was part of what kept yet young adding, “I’m able to work, go home, chop onions, listen to NPR. I’m a very lucky woman.”
Ron Cohen was formerly the editor of Women’s Wear Daily. During an interview with The Muse Project, Cohen was asked to describe herself in 25 words or less, she replied, “Ok. A blessing, a blessing, a blessing, a blessing. Support from my husband, my brilliant husband.”
5. When Asked What Drew Her to Roles, Cohen Said, ‘I Like Strong Women’
When asked what drew her to roles, Cohen said in her interview with New York Jewish Life, “I like strong women.” Cohen added in the same interview, “When you’re my age, everything you read is about people who are old and dying in nursing homes. I don’t want to think about that.” Cohen later said in the same interview, “If I understand the role, I’m not interested in the age or the sex, I’d like a shot at it. I think everybody has a gift. I was given the ability to say things, to be people that say things good or bad, that make other people feel something, get mad, get happy.”
While in a 2016 interview with USA Today, Cohen joked about her husband’s role in selecting jobs saying, “He just wants me to never say no. I think he just wants to get me out of the house. “You gotta go do that!” I am a little more selective. I won’t do anything I don’t believe in. If it’s a message I don’t believe in, there’s no amount of money that can make me do it.”