Olympia Dukakis, 'Moonstruck' and 'Steel Magnolias' Actress, Dead at 89
By Liz Calvario
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Olympia Dukakis, known for her roles in Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias, has died. She was 89. Her death was announced by her brother, Apollo, on Facebook on Saturday.
"My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City," he wrote alongside a photo of the actress. "After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis."
Additionally, Dukakis’ rep, Allison Levy, said in a statement to ET: "It is with deep sadness that we confirm the passing of Olympia Dukakis. After months of failing health, Olympia Dukakis passed away this morning, May 1st, at her home in New York City, with her daughter Christina Zorich by her side."
"Olympia was married to actor Louis Zorich, who passed away in 2018. Her brother Apollo Dukakis, her sons Stefan and Peter Zorich, and four grandchildren thank you for your love, prayers, and kind remembrances during this difficult time," the statement concluded.
Dukakis, who was born in 1931 in Lowell, Massachusetts, began her career acting in theater before making her way to Hollywood. With over 120 credits to her name, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe for her performance as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. The film also co-starred Cher, Nicolas Cage and Danny Aiello.
She also received a Golden Globe nomination for Sinatra (1992) and Emmy Award nominations for Lucky Day (1991), More Tales of the City (1998) and Joan of Arc (1999).
Just last year, a documentary about her life, titled Olympia, was released, which documented her amazing career.
As news of her death broke, former co-stars, fans and friends took to social media to express their condolences. Cher posted a series of tweets, writing in part, "Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck,& Even Though Her Part was That Of a Suffering Wife, WeALL The Time.She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis,Her”Handsome Talented,Husband”.I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One."
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😂ALL The Time.She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis,Her”Handsome Talented,Husband”.I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One pic.twitter.com/RcCZaeKFmz
Cher also added that she had recently talked to her former co-star after finding out she was ill.
Wrote This Hrs Ago,But Didn’t hit Twt😔.Heard Olympia Was Sick So Called Her Daughter & Said Could I Talk 2 Her.She Said “She might Not HEAR or SPEAK”.I Called In2 The Receiver”Olympia It’s Cher,I ❤️You”.Remember Moonstruck,She Said “oh cher,I❣️you”She Was Weak But Happy. RIP O
Sally Field said in a statement to ET: "What can I say but I loved her? Everyone loved her. She was a gift..unique and talented and one of a kind. Rest in peace my friend Olympia."
George Takei, Viola Davis, Kristie Alley and more also paid tribute. See their posts below:
Olympia Dukakis has departed our company. We were Moonstruck by her, as she told us great Tales of the City. A true Steel Magnolia within a more common forest. Ah, what a life force, her later years her best. Rest now among the heavens, Olympia.
Oh my.. Olympia Dukakis has passed away.. She will forever be young in my mind and be my loving movie mother. When will I learn that people do not live forever & the time to engage is NOW?.. RIP pic.twitter.com/TNWwcjFfu0
Steel Magnolias is one of my favorite films because my mom is a hairdresser, Dolly Parton is in it, & Olympia Dukakis delivers one of the most hilarious, grief-cutting scenes ever here. Rest In Peace, Olympia. 🙌🏼 https://t.co/txika7p3js
Everyone on #TalesoftheCity set had a wild story about Olympia Dukakis. In prep to play Anna Madrigal, I watched everything she’d done on screen, and read her books. Sensitive, sassy, in love with her craft, full of wry humor and sharp intelligence. A broad for the ages. 💔 pic.twitter.com/lTlxgAWL8P
Olympia Dukakis brought warmth, humor and wit to the stage and screen for almost 60 years, including a stellar run of unforgettable roles in "Steel Magnolias" "Tales of the City" and "Moonstruck," for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She will be missed. pic.twitter.com/TLuNTx32PI
It was 33 years ago that we gave her and @cher the Golden Globe for “Moonstruck” but I’ll never forget how gracious she was. Olympia Dukakis was pure class and tons of talent. RIP. pic.twitter.com/jiUpQLTZpQ
So. so sad to hear of #OlympiaDukakis’s passing. I had the great joy of playing her son - twice. Such a radiant, powerful and supremely talented woman. I feel blessed to have known her. RIP “Ma.” I will always smile at the thought of you and sweet Louis together.