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Oscar-winning ‘Moonstruck’ actress Olympia Dukakis dies at 89


Olympia Dukakis, Oscar-winning actress for Moonstruck, has died. She was 89.

Her brother, Apollo, confirmed her death on his Facebook page Saturday, writing, “My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City. After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her [husband] Louis [Zorich].”

Dukakis’ cause of death wasn’t given.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts to Greek immigrant parents, Dukakis went on to become a veteran stage and screen actress. She was perhaps best known for playing Cher’s mother — the no-nonsense Rose Castorini — in the 1987 romantic comedy, Moonstruck. The role won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

In her acceptance speech, Dukakis gave a shout-out to her cousin, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who had won the Democratic nomination in the 1988 presidential election. He ultimately lost the election to George H.W. Bush.

Dukakis was also known for her film roles in Steel Magnolias, Look Who’s Talking and Mr. Holland’s Opus, and the mini-series Tales of the City. She appeared on stage in New York productions such as Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo and Martin Sherman’s one-actor play, Rose, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Cher reacted to news of Dukakis’ passing on Twitter, writing, “Olympia Dukakis Was an Amazing, Academy Award Winning Actress.Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck, & Even Though Her Part was That Of a Suffering Wife, We [laughed] ALL The Time.”

Cher continued, “She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis,Her “Handsome Talented,Husband”. I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One.”

Dukakis is survived by her children Christina, Stefan and Peter; her brother Apollo Dukakis; and four grandchildren. Dukakis’ husband, the actor Louis Zorich died in January 2018 at age 93.

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