Versatile actress and late '60s/'70s icon Karen Black, known for her memorable roles in cult horror films and such cinematic classics as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Nashville and The Great Gatsby, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 74.
Black's husband, Stephen Eckelberry, announced his wife's death Thursday on Facebook, writing, "It is with great sadness that I have to report that my wife and best friend, Karen Black has just passed away, only a few minutes ago. Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me."
Born Karen Blanche Ziegler, the Chicago native was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for 1970's Five Easy Pieces, starring opposite Jack Nicholson, and was nominated for a Grammy for her work in Robert Altman's ensemble picture Nashville, for which she performed the songs Memphis and Rolling Stone. Black's other notable projects included The Day of the Locust, Airport 1975, Capricorn One, Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot and a number of cult horror films such as Burnt Offerings, It's Alive III and House of 1000 Corpses thanks to her successful 1975 performance on the ABC movie of the week Trilogy of Terror.
Black was married four times; she married Eckelberry in 1987 and the couple adopted a daughter, Celine. She was previously married to L.M. Kit Carson in 1975 and they had a son, actor Hunter Carson; before that was a short-lived union with actor Robert Burton from 1973-74, and she was also married to Charles Black from 1955-1962.